"How are you?"
That's how my grandfather, Oscar Delbert Moore, greeted you: straight forward and honest. Then, mid conversation, he'd pick his nose. He wasn't the most refined individual, didn't need to be. He was one of the people who actually walked to school in the snow uphill as a kid. That was when life was easy, when he didn't know how bad it would get.
In WWII he was shot multiple times. He couldn't carry a gun because he was a medic. I still don't understand that, it's war. War means guns. While his buddies fought and died for our freedom he did everything he could to ease their pain and keep them alive because that was his job. Being the deer unable to fight back against the hunter isn't the role I'd choose and I doubt he chose it either. But it was his role and he did it. When asked he'd tell you this matter of factly. As if a kid who grew up not knowing war, or anything remotely close to war, could potentially comprehend…
"Then we joined up with Patton…"
"Patton? THE Patton?"
"Of course he was there."
"I knew he was there but…"
All matter of factly. The conversation would then turn to what's for supper.
When I was in elementary school his wife Florence, my grandmother, got cancer. It was a multi year ordeal. In the end she lost her battle with it. "Battle" is too kind of a word as if each side was equally matched and somehow chose to be involved fighting for a cause worth dying for. It humiliated her. My most vivid and tramatic memory was walking into her hospital room days before she died to her screaming because she didn't recognize me and was scared of this 10 year old boy. He saw that every day, saw it tear her apart and become someone she was not. She was hairless, emaciated, and couldn't recall her part in the lives of so many who loved her.
Then he got prostate cancer. I don't remember much about that period but I remember him telling me a story that after recovering from the surgery they had to remove the catheter. It was held in by a balloon and the only way for it to come out was to pull, no yank, it out. It sounded unpleasant. I still cringe when I think about it.
A couple of years ago he had a heart attack because WHY THE HELL NOT!?! Like everything else he took it in stride. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit him in the hospital and give him a ride home. While we were waiting for a wheel chair to be delivered to his room one of the nurses came to say good bye. She was around my age and grandpa… well…
Her: "You going home today?"
"Just waiting on a wheel chair. You're wearing your picture today.", pointing to her badge.
"I hate this picture."
"Don't blame the picture. It can't help that you're in it!"
He laughed, she did not. I laughed hard on the inside while concerned that she'd kill him. Ever wonder where I get my sense of humor?
War, bloody brutal deaths of his friends well before their time, cancer everywhere, heart attacks, and these are only the things I was aware of. None of this did him in. He may have complained a bit on the way (ok a lot) but he had more than enough reason to. But when he'd complain it would be about his leg being sore or the weather or the weather making his leg sore. His complaint was never "I was Nazi target practice while trying to save the lives of my buddies, saw my wife struggle for years and eventually die, got cancer and had a tube literally up my junk, had a heart attack and… we had roast for supper. I've had better.".
Delber Oscar Moore passed away in his sleep on March 18, 2016 around 2:30am. I like to think of it as a dramatic yet humble middle finger to Life as he passed through the exit. He was done. He won with no need to prove himself any longer because what else could life throw at him? He went out in the quiet of the night not needing to make a show of it. It's how it should be done as if there was never any question as to who was in charge.
Love you grandpa, miss you and thank you.