This past week my blog came to a halt, due to Lee’s Celebration of Life. Children, family members and old friends from the Illinois, Missouri, Texas and New York treked to Las Vegas, time had come to pay tribute.
In October 2017 on the 21st, Lee died of complications of C.O.P.D. that he bravely fought for 8 years. He died on a Saturday morning. Part of my life died also.
Until this past week, I have been missing my soulmate of 20 years. But his family, his children, prior wife’s and lovers, my family and friends who now are family, have elevated me back to as normal as I ever was.
Seeing his family reminded me of him and the legacy he gave them. Talking to the children’s mothers and sharing ‘Life with Lee’ was aromatic. Healing and moving forward for all of us.
On January 17, 2018 an honor guard from the U.S. Air-force presented the service. As cold as ice, taps from the trumpet filled the room. Tears, sobs and joy. The FLAG was opened and folded. Presentation was to me from the U.S. Air Force and the President of the United States of America. What an honor for Lee. For his children. For everyone on the room.
Tribute speeches started with Lindi, Lee’s first wife. Very moving, she referenced ‘It was the best of times and the worst of times’ and highlighed their ‘love story’ together. Next Kathy, Lee’s second wife payed tribute to Lee and their life and family love story. Children came next- Bill, Paula, Rachel, Leslie- them we had to move to the cemetery for burial as our time in the chapel was up. Tribute speeches would continue at the Celebration that would follow. Lee was carried by children and driven in golf cart. Family and friends followed in cars. Section B. Lee was hugged by all, kisses on the cold metal urn, warm sun beat down. Letters, pictures, last treasures where placed in the concrete vault. His son Bill, also a Veteran. placed Lee inside the vault. Flowers followed and layered inside around Lee. The door was attached to the Front, only temporary until the embossed permanent one arrives. People dissipated.
“The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected.
Maybe they always have been and will be.
Maybe we’ve lived a thousand lives before this one
and in each of them ( the lives) we’ve found each other.
And maybe each time, we’ve been forced apart for the same reasons.
That means that this goodbye is both a goodbye for the past ten thousand years
and a prelude to what will come.”
Thank you George Lee Hall for the great ride, miss you already. Love you baby, Jane
February brought Valentines Day. Working at OSF was great and there where volunteers who would deliver items to patients. and nurse managers offices. I recieved a flower arrangement delivered to my office that my employees found interesting. Up until then no mention of a ‘boyfriend’ had ever entered any conversations, but now flowers. We also had a ‘pot luck’ on all 3 shifts for the day of hearts and cupids. Approaching my car to go home, I noticed somethine different inside the car.The car was full of mylar balloons with hearts, I love yous and Valentines Day love sayings. My St Valentine had left me another expression of love with a card ‘Love you, Lee’. When I got home, Lee was there, and wearing my gift to him, that I left for him-Nike shorts and Budweiser tee shirt… Doc John came over with his bosses puppy that he was baby sitting. Barkley was so cute and like all puppies hugable. We all sat down for HOMEMADE dinner by Jane and had a great evening…..full of love and friendship…
A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.
January brought ice to the shores of the Illinois River. Living about one mile from the River, our daily drive to work was on Galena Road which ran along the River. The barges moved through the icy water and the birds walked on the snow covered shores. Moving from Central New York the winters in comparison where mild. Snow fall was measured in inches compared to Syracuse’s measurment of snowfall in feet.
Leslie Marie Hall is Lee’s oldest daughter. She drove up from Springfield, Illinois to spend the day with her Dad. Arriving home after work, Lee was over the top and talked about Leslie’s visit with him. Leslie’s visit meant so much to Lee, he had taken pictures , talked on ‘what’s new. and shared hugs and kisses. Great day for Lee……..
“I’m much more me when I’m with you.”
December brings a birthday to Lee. 53. His pony tail is 8 months old. Beard is 7 months old. He has a new Sweatshirt from Budweiser.com that he picked out for a birthday present. Thursday is the day this year. We went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant on the Riverfront. Great food and the music sure gave us ‘happy feet’. Upbeat and Mexican. And I made sure the singing roaming Mariachi Band stopped by the table to sing ‘Happy Birthday to Lee’. The restaurant was rocking and the la cerveza was flowing. Great night for birthday boys……Doc John delived a birthday card…….super birthday celebration…
Hear ’em singing ‘Happy Birthday’
Better think about the wish I make
This year gone by
Ain’t no piece of cake
Every day’s a revolution
Put ’em together and it comes undone
Just one more candle and
A trip around the sun
I’m just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning
And it’s good to know it’s out of my control
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all this living
It’s that it wouldn’t change a thing if I let go
Though you never see it coming
Always wind up wondering where it went
Only time will tell
If it was time well spent
It’s another revelation
Celebrating what I should have done
With these souvenirs from my trip around the sun
Yes, I’ll make a resolution
That I’ll never make another one
Just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun….
Thanksgiving weekend 1997. Paid weekend from work to stay home to cook and kiss and go to an auction or two. Our apartment was great- it was now OVER flowing with antiques. But the warm hugs from all the antiques and cookware from the 1950’s. Computer room was rockin’ and was Lee’s Man Cave. (Photos above are screen shots from the NEW color camera Whoo Hoo)
The turkey went in the oven like 3 am for what would be the start of our our annual Thanksgiving Breakfast. All the fixings -taters, dressing, cabbage salad, cranberries, pies. and cheese cake. Enough for an army- and just the 2 of us. And a friend….
9 am Turkey breakfast, we invited a neighbor over for breakfast. Dr John Hubbs and son Benjamin. He was a psychologist and understood crazy people like Lee and me. He was a single parent and lived 2 doors down, and also like antiques. We all ate and headed out for the first auction of the day,We purchased the lamp and mirror. I still have the mirror. Many years of faces before we looked into this mirror. Not sure what Doc bought, but we had a car full and headed home for more turkey and cheesecake.
Great day for all.
Friday was Black Friday for sure. On the way to Circuit City, the car stopped dead. Tow truck guy who was a friend, towed us to Good Year Auto repair on Pioneer Park. Water pump was dead. Enterprise car rental was across the street, we got a Mercury Marque and went to Green Chevy to look at a Caddy to purchase. This is the day I met Chris Wood at Green Chevy. And that is another story another day.
We drove off in the rental car to home and shopping-maybe……..but an auction for sure……..
“There is one day that is ours. There is one day when all we Americans who are not self-made go back to the old home to eat saleratus biscuits and marvel how much nearer to the porch the old pump looks than it used to. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.”
Photos taken in East Peoria looking towards Mc Cluggage Bridge and Peoria.
September brought a new saint into my life, I was offered a position as Nurse manager in the Department of Surgery , Sterile processing and Equipment for OSF St. Francis Medical Center. It was a transition of a department that needed to be updated and new equipment for the Y2K that was coming. Breath of fresh air, employees where great. My manager was over the top. Her name was Dawn. She called the apartment one evening about a meeting for the next day, and ‘Lee Hall’ came up in the phone caller ID. We talked about bullet points for meeting and then she asked me…..can I ask you a non work question, she asked about the caller ID- she said is that “Lee Hall” the pool player. I told her yes, she said put him on the phone. They talked and seemed she gave the phone her her husband as Joe and Lee played pool in the past. When Lee got off the phone, he told me the story of his pool playing and Joe and Dawn. This was the first time that Lee told me of his pool playing past.
Lee setting up computer room in apartment, River Boat, Illinois River
If you come down to the river
Bet you gonna find some people who live
You don’t have to worry ’cause you have [if you got] no money
People on the river are happy to give
Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river