Elvon died last night. For those who have not been following my blog, he had had Alzheimer’s for more than 10 years. He faked it well for a long time, and we sailed all around the world, as much as possible. He liked it, became familiar with cruise ships, and the crew were a big help. A year ago June, we moved into Fountaingrove Lodge, a cruise ship that doesn’t leave the dock, where we both got help and support. Thanks to Susan for doing the leg and paper work, which was considerable.
Elvon continued to decline, and went from a walker, to a wheelchair, in August. He had become very fearful and it wasn’t always easy to get him to transfer, even to the chair. The Lodge’s care-giving staff were wonderful, and I blessed the fact that we were here.
Then came the fires. They started in Silverado, and Susan let me know around ten-thirty. I could smell smoke in Santa Rosa. When I turned on the TV, and found they were less than three miles away, I had to get us out of there. Elvon would have been severely traumatized by the Lodge evacuation, and I couldn’t have waited until it happened, which was around three am, and was horrific, by all accounts. We made it to a Holiday Inn in Fort Bragg, which worked well, until I smelled smoke from the Redwood fire and took the Scalbergs up on their kind offer of their house in Carmel.
It was perfect, only Elvon continued to lose ground. He became more and more fearful of his transfers, until he would only get up for dinner, and that was a huge struggle. About ten days before we could get back into the Lodge, he got up in the middle of the night, and used the commode as a walker. I woke up when he fell and broke his leg. That was almost two months ago.
He never recovered. The Lodge survived, and I am back in our apartment. There is much devastation very close, but our buildings are OK. Elvon moved into the Memory Care unit here, with hospice. He liked it, thanked us, and continued to thank his care givers.
His entire family, daughters Cathryn and Susan, Sister Esther, her husband Herb, and their daughter, Kris, visited the weekend before Christmas. He was happy to see all of them, and it seemed to give him closure. He barely said another word. Last night, when I went to his room for movie night, I found him dead in his bed. He must have gone peacefully, as there was plenty of staff on the floor.
We would have been 24 years married, tomorrow. A better husband, no one ever had, and I miss him terribly. But it’s good to know he is in a better place, with nothing to fear. There will be a celebration of life in January, and we’ll publish the date when it has been established.
Marlene Rosenberg said:
Helen, we are sad to hear about Elvon’s passing, and on the eve of your anniversary. But, as you said, he is in a better place, and probably is already swimming like he used to do everyday. You couldn’t have been a better wife and great companion for him; you were a wonderful couple, and those memories will get you through this tough time. Our thoughts are with you.
Love, Marlene and Stan
Don Simon said:
He was a good friend and we all will miss him!!!! L&K, Don
Diann Whittaker said:
My deepest sympathies. May wonderful memories help you during this very difficult time. Love, Dianne
Min-min Chang said:
Helen，Though we haven’t seen each other for many years, I have been following you blog and have enjoyed reading every piece — including the recent ones during the big fire. To this day, I still remember very well your wedding party at Stanley, you looked so beautiful in that red Indian outfit! You are an extraordinary, remarkable woman! Our love and condolences. H.K.& Min-min Chang
Peter Aglaganian said:
My deepest sympathies to you Helen, Susan & Cathryn. Anyone who has you ‘on their team’ is lucky and blessed. My thoughts and prayers are with you. RIP Elvon.
Kathy Fitzgerald said:
Love and prayers from Napa. With all the trauma and uncertainty these last few months, so happy he went peacefully.
My heart goes out to you and I just want you to know how grateful we all are to have known him. You were such a terrific couple and the epitome of friendship. You had much more fun in those 24 years than most people in a lifetime, and spread it around with such wonderful generosity. The many treasured memories that fill your heart will remain there forever. You have been a tower of strength for Elvon, especially in the past few months, and an example to us all. I am so proud to call you my friend, and I love you.
On t’embrasse tendrement et tristement.
Danièle et Jean.
Helen, we are saddened to learn about Elvon. We consider it a privilege to have known him when we did and share in his thoughts. I thoroughly enjoyed our time together with the nibbling fish in Singapore while you ladies went off for a haircut. As we sat side by side we had a good conversation. Thank you for sharing him with us. We know the last few months have been rough and you handled it with grace and strength. Our thought are with you until we meet again.
Susan Bogar said:
Helen, finally he is at peace. For that I am thankful. Take care of yourself … thinking of you …
Kathie Alexakis Keefer said:
Helen, Peter and I are devasted, he is crying as I read this. We are so comforted with the time we had together in August. You were an amazing couple and very devoted to,each other.
Our thoughts are with you.
Glen Reid said:
I think we became good shipboard mates ,getting chairs and table and ready on the aft deck. New friends drinks and then the show. I met Slyp and explored Napa ,very generous of you. Memorable sail aways ,I now wish I had travelled south to see you and Elon, but I still have the memories. My thoughts are with you. Glen
Helen. Bill and I are so sorry but realize he is in a better place. You were an amazing wife and took great care of him . He was s great guy.
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Sharon Bobrow said:
So sorry to hear this sad news, Helen.
Sending thoughts and prayers to you and the girls during this difficult time. I know you will miss him terribly.
JO ANN HATHAWAY said:
Oh, Helen, I’m so sorry. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you during this trying time. Elvon was always a gentle soul and adored you. Be well, my friend, and know that Elvon is at peace and watching over you.
WTH loving thoughts,
Jo Ann H
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Melinda Hubbard said:
Helen, so very sorry. We loved Elvon. Great guy. We loved visiting at parties. Hugging you with all our arms. Please let us know if we can do anything.
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Jane Wandell said:
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Elvon and you enjoyed life together and I know that you will miss him greatly. However wonderful memories of fun times will overshadow the difficulties of the recent times and help you in the years to come. Take care of yourself.
With hugs and my heartfelt sympathy.
VICTORIA pierscinski said:
Many 🙏 for you. God speed To Elvon
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Janet Dedicik said:
Hi Helen, So sorry to hear of Elvon’s passing, although it was not a complete surprise. So glad we had BBQ chicken together with you and Elvon when you were here this last August. I know it will be hard for you and you will miss him, but as you said, he is at peace now and that is good to know. Peter and I send our sincere condolences and want you to know that we are thinking of you. Warmest wishes, Janet and Peter, your Chesterfield friends!
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Jeff Rooney said:
Dear Helen –
I am saddened to hear of Elvon’s passing just now! I have only known you since your arrival at the Fountaingrove Lodge. During this time I have abundantly appreciated the relationship you had with Elvon, how you cared tenderly for him all these years putting your love for him as your guide. You say “a better husband, no one had”. I believe he knew and trusted that no better wife and partner could be had with you. It was inspiring for me to see how all this unfolded in the time I have known you both. I know you will miss him dearly my blessings go to you now as you grieve his loss. Much love to you in this mournful time.
john jones said:
So sorry for that empty place in your world but glad his struggle is over. God bless you in this time of continuing change. We’re so glad the family was all able to see each other in the last bit of time. You will be blessed for your continued love and care. Love, John, Joyce, Genevieve and family.
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Sylvia Klenz said:
Oh Helen, I’m so sad to hear this. But I hear I. Your voice that you’re happy for him to be in a better place. No one, I mean NO ONE, could hv been a better wife to him in these last few years (and all of the better years of course). But I’m thinking of all of the last few years of cruises that brought so much to the last years of his life. And also the last trip to Canada which was such a trial for you but which I’m sure he enjoyed as his last life there.
Anyway, you were the VERY VEST HE COULD HAVE EVER HOPED FOR IN EVERY WAY!!!
My love to you
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Wanda Arti said:
I was shocked to hear of Elvon’s passing- I could not imagine him separated from you.He is at peace now, after the terrible trials of the past few weeks which you handled so well and which we were privileged and humbled to witness and accompany through your messages. I was honoured to have met him and to be part of your lives. You were a devoted wife and an example to us all.
My thoughts are with you at this time. I do hope you will continue to share with us your journey through life, and we know you will always be a couple still.
John Ball said:
God Bless, Elvon Helen. He was a man I had the pleasure of working for, working with and becoming a friend. God Bless you too. You have both been an example to all of two people showing sincere love, respect, deep understanding and caring for eachother despite having to cope with the most challenging of challenges. May he rest in peace. May you too find peace and solace. Sincerely, John Ball.
Sent from my iPhone JB
Marcel Arseneau, Claire LeBreux et Matthieu Arseneau said:
Triste nouvelle en cette fin d’année. Nos sincères condoléances à toi, aux filles d’Elvon et aux autres membres de sa famille. Nous gardons de très bons souvenirs de vos voyages à Montréal et de notre visite à Napa.. Nous serons de tout cœur avec toi dans cette épreuve. Nous en profitons pour te souhaiter une bonne année 2018. Au plaisir de te revoir.
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Cheryl Khera said:
I wish I could have met Elvon, as he must have been full of laughter and good stories. Take care and I hope you find peace in the memories of your adventures together.
Our condolences Helen, on Elvon’s passing. It is a difficult life passage to bear, but as you said, he is in a better place. We will be thinking of you and of your loss in the coming year. All the best ANdrea and Page Fairchild
Sent from my iPad A Fairchild
How sad we are about Elvon but so glad that the two of you had such a wonderful life together – a really lovely and extremely adventurous couple. We feel very happy to have spent so much time with you and Elvon, with his wonderful wit and kindness.
Much love to you,
Paula and Frank
Deborah Scipio said:
How so very sorry we are to hear about Elvon. He was such a fine person. It is small consolation for us to have had only good memories of times with him. Our thoughts and blessings are with you.
Debbie & Dominique Scipio
Pat Gustafson said:
Pat and Mike
Pat Gustafson email@example.com
My condolences are with you. He was a very special man.
Jo-Ann Merry said:
So very sad to hear the news of Elvon’s death. Judy phoned me late last night and we teared up together.
He was a wonderful, kind, gentle man, with a great sense of humour. I will miss him dearly. I am so fortunate that I was able to spend a week with you last summer at the Lodge. We enjoyed breakfast together, walked to the gym together, at the end of the day, supper in the dining room with friends. I can still see him relaxing in bed with the news on T.V.
He was well enough to drive with us to Napa for lunch with France, and later visit that beautiful winery on the top of the mountain with the fabulous views. Thank you for having me as your guest, it was very special.
I am glad you both made it to Montreal and were able to see some of your dear family and friends here. When it became too much for Elvon, and you, too, it was the right decision to return to Santa Rosa.
It was so unfortunate that the wild fires made you evacuate and created so many more difficulties for Elvon and for you. These were very trying times for both of you.
After Elvon’s fall, and his broken leg, he was on a steep decline. Of course the physical difficulties affected his mental state, making everything worse. It must have been so very hard for you to see him suffer.
It is so good to learn that all his family was there to see him before Christmas, as you say, it gave him closure. He could leave in peace, and so he did.
You were so very devoted to him and gave him great love and support through it all. Nothing more could be done.
I will always treasure the wonderful times we spent together, the four of us. Andre and I looked forward to your visits here and our visits in Napa. No matter what we did, we had a good time and fun together. We laughed a lot. Great memories.
Chantal and Suzanne were so shocked and sad to hear the news, and send their love and condolences.
Sending my love and deepest sympathy,
Lottie Nicholson said:
I am sorry to hear such sad news. I agree that he is in a better place now. I have enjoyed our friendship thru the years. He was a wonderful friend and companion to you. I am glad you are in such a wonderful new place with new friends. You have always been so good at adapting to new places and people. This how we became acquainted. All my love and condolences. You’re AOPI sister, Lottie
Charla Duggiins said:
Bob and I send our sincere condolences to you,Kathryn, and Susan. We know how difficult this must be for all of you.Elvon was a dear friend and we have such wonderful memories of our time in Hong Kong. Bob really enjoyed working with him at Manual Life and I appreciated his kindness as I settled into the xpat life.
We send our love and prayers,
Charla and Bob Duggins
Helen, sorry to learn of Elvon’s passing. I enjoyed meeting you both on the 2016 World Cruise. You both were so gracious to Gail and myself. Hopefully you can continue to enjoy cruising. All the best,
Michael Innis said:
Sorry to hear about Elvon. I enjoyed getting to know you both on the 2016 World Cruise. I hope you can continue to travel now, you are really good at your job.
All the best,
Marge Mapp said:
We’re so sorry about Elvon. He was a dear man, kind and gentle. He loved you with all his heart, and told us more than once that he thought he was a very lucky man.
It’s such a consolation for you to know he’s in a better place now, but it’s so hard. His passing leaves a big hole, all the more so because his care was so difficult.
We are very sad.
Thank you for letting us know, and for the beautiful tribute.
Marge and Chris