February 22, 2013

"After we had a little time to process the shock and horror, we felt we couldn’t have written a more perfect script..."

"My sister said the only thing he didn’t do was fall into the casket."
The 94-year-old World War II veteran’s impromptu wake was held Saturday at the same eastern New York funeral home where his wife Gwen’s funeral was already scheduled. She was 89 when she died on Feb. 8. After Norman died just steps from the funeral home, the daughters decided their parents would be mourned together at the same time....

[The daughter] requested that her father’s body be put into a casket and placed in the viewing room with her mother’s cremated remains, which had been placed in an urn. Mourners who started arriving soon after for Gwen’s funeral were greeted by a note Merrilyne posted at the entrance: “Surprise — It’s a double header — Gwen and Norman Hendrickson — Feb. 16, 2013.”
Norman and Gwen Hendrickson had been married for 66 years.

31 comments:

phx said...

There's no crying on Althouse comments.

drozz said...

i pray my grandkids can be that innovative.

Longwell Lawyers said...

That is hilarious! There is a right time and wrong time to make a joke. Oddly, this seemed to work out well.

Pastafarian said...

I've been thinking lately about whether my wife will be able to deal well with my inevitable death, and going out nearly simultaneously does seem like a good way to do it.

I don't know if it's the bleakness of the season or of the Obamaconomy that's led me to such dark thoughts. Probably a little of both.

edutcher said...

Love the line,

"On his prayer card, she jokingly wrote that Hendrickson got the idea to die in the limo headed to the funeral so he could get 'a buy-one-get-one-free deal.'

If it had happened with somebody else like this it would have been sad, but with Norm it wasn’t. It was just so much like Norm".

He must have been a great guy.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Pasta

My husband and I darkly joke about this same thing. Who will go first? The joke is that we each want to be the first one to go... "Me first....No ME!"..or maybe just join hands and jump together. I think it is just the futility of trying to make a difference and realizing that we are RULED [not governed] by corrupt morons. That plus the sense of deja vu. Nothing changes but the players on the stage. Been there done that already and already tie dyed the tee shirt too.

I think that the children (who are no spring chickens themselves) in this article, did exactly the right thing. They faced the loss of both of their parents with class and humor.

EDH said...

A sweet story of love, but...

Gariepy began CPR while Nichols-Ross and one Norman’s sons-in-law raced across town to retrieve his do-not-resuscitate orders from the Hendricksons’ refrigerator door. Once the orders were in hand, an emergency crew that had arrived ceased attempts to revive Norman. He died on the sidewalk.

Does DNR extend to emergency response? What about authentication? EMTs are interpreting legal documents on a sidewalk?

The Drill SGT said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
@ Pasta

My husband and I darkly joke about this same thing. Who will go first?


In my house, we joke about how I'm saving for my wife's retirement.

Facts:
- i'm 3 years older
- her mother lived 33 years beyond my wife's current age
- my father died younger than I am

:)

Lipperman said...

Do you know why husbands usually die before wives do?

Because they want to.

Lipperman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marshal said...

After her mother died, Howland said she overheard her father say aloud, “We have had a good long life together. I love you. I’ll miss you and watch for me.”

I hope we all feel this when the time comes.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Interestingly enough, they were married in a double-ring ceremony.

sydney said...

Gariepy began CPR while Nichols-Ross and one Norman’s sons-in-law raced across town to retrieve his do-not-resuscitate orders from the Hendricksons’ refrigerator door.

It is wise to carry your DNR papers in your pocket after a certain age.

Methadras said...

Awesome way to go out. Enduring love like that in a time long past, I fear is going the way of the dodo bird. Great line to bring them in though. No one can resist a double-header.

sydney said...

Does DNR extend to emergency response? What about authentication? EMTs are interpreting legal documents on a sidewalk?

It varies from state to state, but yes, emergency responders are supposed to honor DNR orders here in Ohio. Patients are given a copy to keep at home for just such a purpose, as it sounds like this man was. We have two categories of DNR in Ohio - "DNR-CCA" which means do not resusciate if there is a cardiac arrest, and "DNR-CC" which means that the person doesn't want any sort of medical treatment for anything at all, except to be kept comfortable (thus no antibiotics for infections, etc.) The latter is usually for the terminally ill in hospice.

The emergency responders are familiar with these forms and they are very straightforward.

lightcat said...

My Nana & Poppop did the same thing 20 years ago, although in slightly less dramatic fashion. Poppop had a stroke on a Sunday and died on Tuesday. After making the funeral arrangements on Wednesday, Nana had a stroke on a Thursday and died on Saturday. Double funeral on Sunday.

They'd been married 50+ years, but were only in their 70s. Although Poppop's health had been declining, Nana was perfectly healthy. It was what they wanted, but certainly traumatic for the ones left behind.

bagoh20 said...

Well played by all parties.

Kelly said...

Sounds like the kids inherited the old mans sense of humor. I grew up in a funeral home so I'm no stranger to this kind of dark humor. Our family makes weird jokes at what other people would considered inappropriate times.

EDH said...

thanks sydney,

Didn't know DNRs came in portable standard form like that.

Petunia said...

DNR orders can also be on a bracelet. Must be dated within the past year (usually) and signed by one or more physicians. If the patient is wearing the bracelet, at least in some states, no additional papers are needed, although it doesn't hurt to have them available.

If the patient is not wearing the bracelet, the EMTs are usually legally obliged to start resuscitation efforts, even if the supplemental papers are available. Depends on the state.

RIP to the Hendricksons. Sounds like they had a good life together and raised two clever, caring daughters.

JAL said...

DNR in NC is a bright yellow 81/2 x 11 sheet of paper with a red STOP sign on it. Signed by a physician and the patient.

It is filled out when the doctor and the patient have the "end of life" chat that Obamacare (and responsiblephusicians withouth that prod) have with elderly or very ill patients.

There is also the natural death paperwork which details how much one wants to be done (feeding tube? ventilator?) etc. in cases of terminal illnesses.

BTW -- anyone else heard Paul Krugman telling a group re the Affordable Care Act [sic] that healthcare will end up having "death panels" (he used the words) and increased middle class taxes. Heard it with my own ears. Lying liars. Sarah Palin had you nailed from the beginning.

Glad the Hednricksons got out with dignity without being thrown out.

wyo sis said...

I've often thought that the ideal way to go was both together, but it's not at all common. My BiL said if his wife dies first he'll just quit taking his insulin. Not sure if that's suicide or DNR.

Inga said...

Advanced Directives have been around for at least the last 20 years. Obamacare didn't invent it.

JAL said...

Obamacare didn't invent it

Reading comprehension FAIL

I may have it wrong, but IIRC the fireside how-and-when-to-let-yourself-die-and-save-us-all-money chat is mandated in the Afforable (<--- hahahahaha) Care Act.

The DNR have been around many years. (I am an RN. Cardiac and ICU. Been there done that.)

One would hope that the physician - patient relationship would include that at the appropriate time. My mom's cardiologist was actually quite sweet. Both parents already had Declaration of Desire of Natural Death paperwork done many years ago.

JAL said...

Is it not it true that generally men do not do well if their wives die first?

My father in law re-married 7 months after his wife died.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga said...

JAL, it doesn't mandate that is must happen. It will PAY for it IF the family chooses to have that conversation, as all families and patients do when they are admitted to LTC.

Inga said...

You won't find a patient in a LTC facility without an Advanced Directive.

Inga said...

Advance Directives encompass more than a DNR and they've been around far longer than Obamacare

caplight45 said...

My father died on a Tuesday evening of a stroke he had the day before. My mother had a stroke on Thursday, died Saturday morning. We had a double viewing and funeral on Sunday. I think that is really what they wanted.

MadisonMan said...

I like the story. Kudos to the daughters for knowing exactly what the Dad wanted.