Thursday, January 31, 2008

Remembering Hal

I post many kinds of pictures here, many of them having not much to do with training to walk 60 miles. This is one such photo. Pictured above, in December of 2006 with us in Philadelphia, are Naomi and Harold Schedl. She is an artist, a painter, a native of South Africa, who taught for many years at the University of Iowa. He is one of the most kind persons you could ever meet. You can see that in his face, in that open smile, and from the eyes. He is also a physician, former head of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa Medical Center. Their oldest son Paul is married to my sister, Mary. And Leroy and I have known them for 40 years. Though we are related only indirectly, I certainly have thought of them as part of our extended family and as close friends -- of the type that you simply pick up the earlier conversations with when you do meet. We have stayed in their home, know all their boys, and share so many interwoven memories.

Naomi told me last night that the two of them had been out cross country skiing last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That's entirely typical of the active inquiring life they have led since retirement. He and Naomi had breakfast together yesterday morning (he cooked, his job) and then she went off and came back around noon, to find him on the floor, still breathing but unable hear her. He had suffered a massive cerebral hemorrage. Not a bad way to go, all things considered, given, as she said that he had no desire to ever live in an assisted living center. The boys and their families are with Naomi now, and Hal was taken off life support systems earlier tonight. He will be missed by many more people than myself to whom he was first of all kind and courteous, and then whose medical problems he solved -- or to the medical students he taught over the years, many of whom practice with the same form of humanity as he did. I will especially miss the charming long narratives, wonderful stories he could tell, always with humor and an ear for the absurd.

Of him and his many kindnesses to her, my mother once said, "I think of Hal as a prince among men." She was right, and oh how we will miss him.


roolily said...

What a beautiful post. It's reassuring to know that people like Naomi and Hal, and you are out in the world. Thanks.

James & Lauren said...

We second that opinion!