Jerry Whitley Huvelle
July 10, 1942 - July 24, 2002
I have been pretty incommunicado this summer, particularly the last 2 weeks, because I was with my parents as my dad battled cancer. He underwent chemotherapy for esophageal cancer which had spread to his liver. The poison ravaged his body, but even as his body got weaker and weaker, my dad never complained.
He had a wonderful birthday celebration, and friends and family, including his mother and siblings from out of state, got to honor him with their memories of him. He was so happy that day and in the days afterwards, and he said he had a ball!
The past couple of weeks were particularly difficult, as he suffered a broken rib from a fall, but our wonderful friend, Diane Allen, who was his nurse throughout, kept his medication regulated so that he had no pain or discomfort at any time. He could not ever be left alone, because he wanted to maintain his freedom, but he was in danger of falling, and at least two people had to be there with him. Dad's family (sisters, brother-in-law, nieces and nephews) as well as friends came to spend time with dad during this past week, and it was like a party all the time, with a house full of people, and wonderful friends and family sat with him in shifts through the night so mom and I could sleep. As I sat with dad on Sunday, I was thinking how we were all gathering to give him a loving send off, while loved ones on the other side were gathering to welcome him to heaven, and it made me feel good to know that he would not ever be alone.
When we learned his older sister was coming from Michigan at the last minute, we told those angels to back off and let him stay another day so he could see his sister one last time. He willed his body to keep functioning. He didn't see her, but he knew she was there, and she was able to say good-bye.
Dad left us early Wednesday morning - at 3:50. He was comfortable and breathing peacefully when he took three short final breaths. Mr. and Mrs. Leyden were with him, and they woke my mom and me up when they realized he was not going to take another breath.
People have been so wonderful and continue to be. Mom and I are being well taken care of, and we are ok. I didn't think it would be possible to function after he left, but I am ok. He had such a peaceful, comfortable passing, and I was able to hold his hand and be with him and tell him all I needed to, and now I know he is strong again and lucid and happy. I think he was making the rounds yesterday - several people said they woke up at 4am and others were having a bad day before they learned that he was gone. Dad was such a great person. So many people will really miss him for a very long time.
Mom and I gave him a long gold chain with a gold cross on it for Father's Day, and it meant a great deal to him. He put his wedding ring on it when it eventually fell off his finger. Mom gave the chain to me, and it is so comforting to have it close to my heart, after dad wore it over his in his last weeks with us.
We will have a memorial service for him at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Pleasant Hill on Saturday, August 31, 2002 at 10am, with a potluck lunch in the garden afterwards.
I have been scanning pictures all morning - I wanted to share them with you, and I decided to put a web page together for him - you can see my work in progress at
Love, peace and happiness to you!
July 25, 2002
Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, has been at the forefront of my thoughts for the past week, not because I am a troubled prince, nor am I like Ophelia, but because of some lines which were very comforting to me.
"...you must know your father lost a father,
That father lost, lost his...."
I.ii, King Claudius
And as I kissed my father good-bye early Wednesday morning, Horatio's send off for Hamlet came to mind:
"...And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."