Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Battle's Over and the Victory's Been Won

Dick Moore

April 16, 1934 - September 22, 2009

I'll have more later.

UPDATE from Dick's son Rick, and crossposted at HolyCoast.com:

I've had some time to regroup after a very long night and I'd like to bring you a little more information about Dad. This morning ended a very tough months-long battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis, a terrible disease that robs you of your ability to breath. His last months were very difficult, especially following a fall he took on August 14th after blacking out during a coughing spell. After seven days in the hospital he came home a very weakened man.

It required us to get a full-time caretaker to live with my parents (mom has mobility issues and couldn't really care for him - he'd been caring for her), and it got to the point where even a short walk across the room left him winded and often coughing. This was a guy who only a year before had been walking a mile or more around his hilly neighborhood every day without any problems.
The disease was diagnosed after a lung biopsy on St. Patrick's Day, and despite trips to UCLA to visit specialists and work with a pulmonologist near home, this disease pretty much defies treatment. They don't know how you get or how to fix it. The only question is how long it will take to run its course. In Dad's case, it was very quick.

Last Thursday he was not looking good at all. The doctors told us to call the paramedics and he was back at Mission Hospital. We thought it would be a few days and out, but the disease continued at a fearful pace and by noon yesterday it was clear the end was a matter of hours away. We spent a fitful day and night in the Intensive Care Unit as Dad struggled, but as the dawn broke this morning he peacefully passed away, surrounded by his family, including his wife of 54 years and his two children. He's now free from the pain and the struggle and home with the Lord he served all of his 75 years.

If you would like to honor his memory in a way that would really please him, go read the blog he started a couple of years ago. He wanted a place to put his memories and cherished stories, and MooreTheBetter became the place.

The last entry he posted involved the night he handed the keys to his "Little Red Chevy" to his first grandchild, my daughter, so she could have it at college. That was August 13th. He realized he could no longer safely drive because of coughing spells, and he couldn't play golf anymore, and that car was his golf car. He fell the next day and the real downhill slide started.
He had also been an accomplished singer, and if you work your way through the blog you'll find videos of him singing at various events, including just last December when he played the Angel Gabriel in a children's production with two of his granddaughters. He was also the one who got me in the quartet business. He co-founded The Watchmen Quartet in 1971, I joined in 1974 as bass player, and when he retired in 1982 I took over his bass singing spot. One of the great joys I had as a teenager and 20-something was spending 8 1/2 years traveling and singing with my dad. Here's the first publicity shot I took with the group back when I was a long-haired 18-year old. Dad's on the right.

One of the frustrations with this disease was he could no longer sing. As the long day and night progressed yesterday the hospital chaplain, who is a family friend, brought in a CD player and we played favorite recordings of his non-stop. One was a recording he had done, another from a live concert he and his cousin did one year ago this month, one from his Uncle Ray who had taken him in when he was a teenager, and one of flute performances by my daughter. It was all very moving and difficult for us, but hopefully helped him as he moved on.

Well, he's singing today, and with a choir made up of many friends and family who have gone on before. Heaven can always use another bass.

No comments: