RIP pop

I’ve been pretty quiet this week. My father passed away on Monday morning, and his funeral was on Thursday.

I posted this on my Facebook feed on Wednesday:

“Till Death Do Us Part,” by Gabrielle. 1958 to 2018, Plonia and Hendrik Koetsier. (See the full photo at the bottom of this post.)

Thursday, 10AM, Valley View Cemetery, Surrey

Funeral service:
Thursday, noon, Emmanuel Free Reformed Church, Abbotsford, with reception to follow

I don’t share this photo lightly. There’s a vulnerability to one’s last days of a tough illness like cancer … one that has eaten you down to fragments of yourself. Physically, my dad was down to maybe 120 pounds. Mentally, strokes, leukemia, diabetes, and other compounding illnesses had stolen pieces of his mind.

But our last days and weeks were amazing.

He still had his sense of humor. He still was unfailingly polite and thankful for all assistance. He bore the ugliest aspects of a disease which robbed him of almost all bodily control with a grace that I can’t quite fathom. He never once complained about his fate or his fortune. And he fought with a strength that we almost couldn’t believe.

We talked, we laughed, we remembered old trips. We sang together, we prayed together, we cried together. We stayed overnight in his hospital room so he would not be alone, would not die alone.

This photo is of one of the happiest days of his life, when he married my mom, Plon. And it’s of the last day of his life.

It’s real life. It’s good life. It’s hard life. And it’s beautiful. At the end, we can take nothing with us. Everything is stripped away.

Somehow, sometimes, that’s when we can be most human. Most real. Most authentic. Most who we are.

See you soon, Pop.