I was so very sorry to hear of my friend, Ray's passing. We had met when my mother & he were living at Sunrise West Hills. She was in the Remembrance side. I would come in very early to help bathe & have coffee with her. Ray was always in the front living room by the fireplace. We would visit before I went to mom. When mom's condition became worst, I moved her out to a bed & board, but would continue to visit Ray (she passed in 2014). He was very excited to move to the VA & asked me to continue to visit him there. He would drive in to see his daughter & take her to her treatments. Sometimes, she wasn't well enough, so he would call & I'd meet him for coffee. It was a joy to visit with him & hear his stories of his military life, his marriages, his family & grand daughters (who he was very proud of) and all the traveling he & his 2nd wife had done. My father had been in the Army Air Corps, so it was like listening to my dad when Ray reminisced. My PO Box is at Sherman Way, and he proudly told me how he had help design the mailing system - and that his grand daughter was now working there too! Family meant so much to him (well, he had come from such a large family - it made sense that it would). I would come by the VA every few months & bring him his favorite - Red Vine Licorice....as everyone in the halls followed, hoping to get a piece! My how he loved the Western Channel! He would watch those movies, no matter who the stars were. I came by in early January & brought his Red Vines. We had lunch upstairs & he introduced me to his friends at the table. I remember that his last hug was longer than usual...tighter. I came by today, to find his room empty. He had been on my mind for weeks since that last visit. I just knew...and yet the reality hit me hard. I saw his name on the wall downstairs & I cried. He had just missed his birthday. I'm going to miss his stories, his Hawaiian shirts, the dog tags he always wore, his smile & upbeat attitude. I'm going to miss my friend very much. I'm sitting here watching his interview with "Drawn to Serve" and I can feel myself smiling through my tears. Ray would like that. To Ray's son & daughter and his beautiful grand daughters I want to send my deepest sympathies. He was a special man who left everyone he knew with many special memories. Thank you for allowing me to share some of mine.
Wednesday April 11, 2018 at 7:12 pm