He wasn’t the most talkative of men, our Bobert, but he did make my mom very happy. On May 16th, two days after his birthday, he passed away of lung complications at the age of 77.
The last thing he said to me was, “Do you have anything sweet or anything?” and I feel horrible now that I didn’t just give him something instead of telling him I wasn’t allowed to. The thing is, we all just thought he was going to pull right through it. He was going to get better just like he always did. He went in to the hospital, then a nursing home, back to the hospital, and back to the nursing home before we were called at 2 in the morning to tell us that he was having breathing problems and was being sent to the ER.
We were greeted with a bright, “There’s my Ellie!” when we entered, followed by, “..and Jennifer Lee!” for some reason he always included my middle name. He had a nickname for everyone (accept for my brother Keith’s wife Michelle which he always would say, “Nobody likes Shell.”) in the family, you see, and everyone had one that never changed but mine always seemed to. The last one was “Jenny… a symphony on two legs.” which my mom and I were puzzled as to what that meant, but I appreciated it all the same. None the less, whatever nickname he chose for me he always followed it up with some sort of compliment. “The best cooker-baker-maker.” Or “She’s nice to everyone, and birds, and cats, and dogs, and even migrates.” Although he wasn’t quite sure what a migrate was exactly, and neither did we, but again who cares? It was still a very nice compliment.
He was rather particular about what he wore, and while those 5am “Jenny, I feel sweaty. I need a new shirt” calls were not always appreciated, now they seem like nothing at all. We had a hard time getting him to eat much, and he started to change a bit, was grumpy when he’d never been, shouted when he’d never done that, but all those things were just part of his dementia. I started making him jello and put pineapple in it because that was his favorite fruit. When he wouldn’t eat anything else, he’d eat that jello. I’ll never be able to look at jello the same again, and truthfully it’s going to be a long time before I’ll be able to make it again too.
He was a great guy, and while he and I didn’t always see eye to eye, his core and spirit were the sweetest and kindest sort. Always the simple kind of person. We laughed at the fact that, now he’ll have his choice of all the flavors of ice cream there ever could be and he’d still just pick vanilla with a little chocolate sauce.
You are missed, Bobert. You really are.