Mary & Dennis
Yesterday at noon I had a call from my friend Mary Petersen. Her husband Dennis died during the night. They would have celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary today.
Just three weeks ago she had placed him in the Parkridge Nursing facility because she couldn’t care for him any longer. He’d got pneumonia there, and she told me on
Sunday in church that she didn’t think Dennis could recover. He was too weak. Still we were both shocked at his sudden death.
Dennis had cystic fibrosis since birth, and was born with only one leg, which was like a floppy fin. His parents put him into a care home where he grew up to be a man with a full-sized masculine head and shoulders. He looked very handsome in his white stetson cowboy hat.
Mary met him while working in the home, and they ended up marrying, and moving off into an apartment of their own. Between Mary’s jobs, they continued to manage on Dennis’ disability pension. However these near 14 years were a great time of liberty and pleasure for Dennis, finally outside of an institution.
Our home is wheelchair accessible (Dad built a ramp in the garage years ago), so they liked to come visit here, and Dennis loved to tease us. Often it was to the point where Mary had to tell him that he was going too far.
He also loved Mary’s pet canaries, and spent hours talking to them as they sat on his shoulder. I could tell by all the bird manure on his wheelchair’s knapsack.
He is free as a bird himself now. We don’t want to take that away from him.