Our family and I send you much gratitude for your wonderful thoughts for us at Den's death, and your hopes for the recovery of Den's elder daughter, Katie. Although she's in a coma, she's stable, and we're optimistic.
Still, we feel it important to celebrate Den's life and work, and we hope that even if you're too far away to attend, you'll know that you're in our thoughts and very much wanted. This is a party, a time for joy, as Den would want.
Also, since many of you have asked, at the right is information in case you've been thinking of sending flowers or making a donation in his name.
And finally, since many of you have asked this, too, I'll give a brief explanation of what happened to Katie and Den.
Katie is a librarian, one of the handful of district managers in the San Francisco public library system. She oversees eight libraries, the youngest person to have this position. Last Tuesday, Katie went out for a late lunch and was struck by a dump truck. Her skull was fractured.
We're still waiting for the police report, so we know little more than that. We've been told that she was in the cross walk on Mission Street, and the truck driver jumped out immediately and, thankfully, called 911.
In the beginning, she was lucid and her usual wacky self, despite a very bad headache. But on Thursday, she had a Grand Mal seizure, and went in for emergency surgery to remove part of her skull to relieve pressure on her brain, which was swelling. The doctors said she might not survive.
Den had been ill for two years, including several surgeries, valiantly fighting back each time, but also growing increasingly weak. Of course, he desperately wanted to be with Katie and Deirdre, her sister, as did I. So Den and I flew immediately to San Francisco, but when we got off the plane, Den began to feel bad.
We thought it was the usual stomach cramps. He took his pill and I did my little things to help him feel more comfortable, and he soldiered on, walking jauntily through the airport. But he got steadily worse, eventually ending up in ICU in the same hospital as Katie.
By Friday morning, my children, Paul and Julia, were on planes flying to San Francisco because of Katie. They did not know about Den. Later that morning, the doctors told Deirdre, Deirdre's boyfriend, Bob, and I that Den could not survive. I don't have the final report yet, but it appears Den must have had a massive heart attack a few days earlier, but we didn't know it. It cut off the supply of blood to part of his organs.
And so that afternoon, Friday, we were with him, holding his hands, as he passed from this world.
Den didn't suffer long, and he was near Katie. Inadvertently, and blessedly, he was put in the room directly above hers. He never did get to see her, and of course she has no idea he's dead. Because it happened in San Francisco and not in Santa Barbara, Deirdre was able to be with him and me --- another blessing. We stayed with Den quite a while afterwards. It was hard to leave him. Then we went down one floor to be with Katie and take care of her. Paul and Julia arrived shortly, followed by Paul's wife Katrina, all to discover the devastating news about Den.
My dear friend David Morrell calls this a train wreck, and of course he's right. And gosh, it sure has felt like that. It's a relief when someone can voice what one is feeling.
But at the same time, we've had Den many years. To us, the world is less rich with his passing, and we miss him a lot. And we continue to worry about Kate. Still, we're together. Add to that your warmth and support — there's little better than that — and we have much to be grateful for.