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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Richard Joseph Flanagan - Part 11

On October 29, 2000, Richard "Dick" Joseph Flanagan passed away.  I certainly have more to say about this and let me see if I can pull it all together.

Dick turned 88 years old on this day.  His family had gathered at his home in Napa, California for the celebration of his birthday.  The menu for the mid-afternoon dinner was one of Dick's favorites.  Fresh leg of lamb with gravy, potatoes, a salad and a vegetable awaited the family at the table.  There was also a wonderful bottle of Pinot Noir red wine to accompany the meal.

At around 3pm, Dick had just finished telling everyone a story about his father, Jack Flanagan, when it was announced that dinner was ready.  Everyone headed to the table.  Prayer was said, then everyone tasted and sipped the wine in honor of Dick's 88 years.  A few minutes later, Dick was enjoying his food and sipping his wine but it was apparent that he could not move his left side.  Soon after, 911 was called and Dick was headed to the hospital.  I recall saying goodbye to him in the emergency room.  He died a few hours later from a major brain bleed.

Dick had made the decision long before his final day that if something of this nature happened, he was not to be saved but allowed to pass in peace.  In my opinion, time did stop for him at his dinner birthday celebration where he was surrounded by his family enjoying the food, company, and his glass of wine.  I always say "What a way to go, and that is the way to go."  As a witness to this, sitting next to Dick at the table and hearing him say "I'm fine", I could see his joy and calm.

On a beautiful Fall day in Napa, California, Dick was laid to rest with his wife, Dorothy, at Tulocay Cemetery.  As several of us walked up to the grave site, leaves came slowly trickling down from the oak tree that shades the site.  Another family member said that was Dorothy welcoming him home.

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

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