I wrote three weeks ago, that Frank’s time was limited. He died yesterday at 3am of liver failure. He had been unconscious since Saturday, and he had been moved to a hospital bed in his living room on Thursday.
I was at a coffee shop near work yesterday morning when Emma called me to relay the news from Lyndol. We hurried over there and spent the rest of the day with him, helping out as various friends came over.
Lyn is doing as well as can be expected. He’s sad, occasionally weepy, and sometimes a little manic. I think he’s relieved that Frank’s ordeal is over. After 32 years together, it’s going to leave a huge void in his life.
I’m sad too, of course, but I’m coping well, if a little numb. Emma’s more obviously upset. We’re going back over there in a little while. I’m to close up Frank’s eBay business and to accompany Lyndol to the mortuary. We expect to be back in the office tomorrow.
Frank had thoughtfully left a folder in his email called "friends to notify", a task that I took care of yesterday. I announced it too on his Facebook homepage. Over the next few days, I’ll write up a longer appreciation of Frank and post it to his two favorite newsgroups, soc.motss and rec.arts.movies.past-films.
When I have time, I intend to put together some selections from his many postings. For now, a tiny sampler from Jess Anderson.
When I announced my nephew’s birth on Monday, I didn’t say where I had been when I learned the news. Lyn had invited another couple and Emma and me over on Sunday for a meal. We sat in the living room, talking, while Frank gurgled slightly on oxygen in the corner. It was somewhat surreal but Lyn desperately needed the company of friends.
My father’s call came, I took it in the kitchen, then came back and told Emma that she now had a nephew. We toasted the baby. The circle of life: birth and death. As Eric said when I told him the next day, if it was in a movie, you wouldn’t believe it.
I didn’t really say goodbye to Frank then—I didn’t expect the end to come quite so soon—and I regret it. The last time that I saw him conscious was the night of his anniversary when we brought dessert back to his house. He was still fully in command of his faculties then as his newsgroup posts on Christmas Day demonstrate.
As the social worker told us yesterday, Kubler-Ross’s work was all about letting people die in character, and Frank very much died in character. I found it remarkable how little it seemed to bother him these last few months at home that his death was imminent. He seemed to get stronger after he came home from the hospital to home hospice care. He took as keen an interest in life as he ever did. I only saw him down once.
Frank Maloney, much loved and much missed.