The Other I

March 12, 2008

In remembrance: RWR and a milk shake

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 5:37 pm

When my mother died and my father remarried, life changed.  Sometimes, I think in desperation to excuse the things she said, Dad described his second wife as “artistic.”  Mom’s children, especially those still living at home, found the term less than adequate.  In truth, Dad did too, and he would sometimes go out drinking with his law partner, R, who called her simply “Mother Hubbard.” 

This wasn’t quite fair because she was an extremely attractive and witty woman, but it was immensely therapeutic, not only for Dad but for his children who dared not say out loud what they thought.  R had a sense of irrepressible humour that could neutralize the bitterness and anger and replace it with laughter.  I think he was sometimes responsible for saving the very sanity of Dad and some of my sibs.

My brother Jack has just sent the family an email to tell us that RWR died today.  He had been in a hospice for the last several weeks, and this morning when he woke up asked for some cookies and a milk shake.  Which he ate.  Then he closed his eyes and died.

I haven’t seen him since “Mother Hubbard’s” funeral.  But I loved him.  He was Dad’s best friend and I don’t think there was a single Herman who has forgotten what a gift he was for us all.  He had an amazing capacity to wrench some modicum of laughter, even joy, out of whatever life threw at him.  I hope that he had some inkling of how much he gave us.  And how much we loved him.  I never told him.  It would have sounded too patronizing somehow, maybe too fawning. 

He died as he lived.  Dying with a milk shake and cookie is quintessentially Dick.

Thank you for having been there for so long for so many of us.


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