An Amazing Man, But Did Anyone Know?

Monday, June 4, 2012
Posted in category Just Stuff

I just came back from visiting my family members who live forty miles south of Minneapolis, in Northfield, MN. In March, my mother was taking up temporary residence in a nursing home in Northfield while nursing and rehabilitating a spinal injury. Since my father died, she has always had this need to take care of someone who she thought could benefit from her care, like my father did in his last years, after the medical establishment slowly killed him with a colonoscopy (and ensuing internal bleeding following the removal of polyps) and brutish, conventional cancer treatment.

While in the nursing home in March, a gentleman about seven years her senior took a liking to her, and she spent countless hours overseeing his feeding, his medical care, talking to him, and reassuring him. He mostly spoke to no one but my mother. She was the bright light of his waking hours. As bad as her health has been, she has always seemed to flourish while benefitting someone else who is even worse off than she has been. I just knew he was “David,” and I knew nothing else about this man.

When my mother was released from the nursing home, all of us tried to talk her into volunteering at the home to stick around, helping David, as well as the others she had befriended during her stay. My Mom has a gift for this – more than she could know. With my Mom being my Mom, she refused, for no particular reason that we can understand. But when I talked to her on the phone, she rambled on and on about how she cared for David. That’s all she could talk about. She was connected to that man in some way that even she wasn’t willing to admit.

Less than two weeks after my mother was released from the nursing home, David Eimon Moe died. My sister and I wondered if this was coincidence, or if his heart stopped beating when his favorite caretaker stopped caring for him.

Last week, my sister said, “you will really get a kick out of this,” as she read me his amazing obituary from the Northfield News. She hadn’t known, and I hadn’t known, that this man was a gifted intellectual, with a PhD in physics, and an entrepreneur of devotional tapes. He was also well-versed in self-reliant living (shelter construction and organic gardening) way before his time. Reading his obituary makes me wonder if he was a libertarian, a voluntaryist, an anarchist, or…? Thoreau was one of his heroes. A quote from his obituary:

Around that time he also designed and helped build a one-room home with sleeping loft in Cambria, Calif., where he enjoyed walks in the woods and along the Pacific shore, visiting with friends and neighbors, and “savoring ample leisure time for reading, writing, and day dreaming.”

While reading the whole obituary, I noted that he seems to have been an amazing man and a worthy intellectual, but my mother, to this day, only knows him as the nice man at the nursing home who needed her tender touch and persistent attention. He adored her, and reacted only to her (as I am told). I never got to meet David, but I can only imagine the conversations I could have had with him if he was in his proper mind and if I had known him.

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7 Responses to An Amazing Man, But Did Anyone Know?

  1. jeannie queenie says:

    June 6th, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Did anyone know he was an amazing man? Karen, I venture to say that your mother knew this at some level. He must have exuded his intelligence and her awareness antennae picked it up….besides it is a fact that like knows like, hence the mutual attraction.

    The fact that your mom exhibited some tendencies of giving/caring/solicitiousness, no doubt told him that here was a real woman of quality, and so viola, the attraction was mutual. Fact is, it sounds like your mom has a very high emotional IQ, and his brain perceived this rare quality as very special in this day and age, where so few people exhibit high emotional IQ’s.

    I hope that they enjoyed each other for the short while they knew each other. What amazes me is that many people are clueless about relations between aging men and women …talk about fine wine…things do get better and better, that is, if both parties are mature and emotionally intelligent. I am happy for your mom that she had some time with this special man…and he obviously missed what was probably one of the most special women he had known. Your mom sounds like one special and smaart lady…God bless her.

  2. Bob Wallace says:

    June 8th, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I
    ‘ve worked in nursing homes and done home health care. The interviewer asked me, “What’s the best part of the job?” I answered, “Listening to their stories.” I got a smile for that one.

  3. cousin lucky says:

    June 10th, 2012 at 8:37 am

    My Humble Thanks To Your Mother, Ms De Coster, For Bringing You
    To This World!!

  4. David says:

    June 13th, 2012 at 9:39 am

    (I’d be tempted to share this tender little story with some of my aging relatives, but then I think that that’d be perceived as some sort of criticism of their age.)

    I think Jeannie Queenie answered the question, “But did anyone know?” Yes: First, your mom knew he was a good and accomplished man. And I’m sure his family also knew. Finally, judging by his obituary, it sounds like God knew (for those with religious inclinations). So….what in the world more could one hope for?

    Truly, that’s probably the largest lesson of all we can take from Mr. David Moe: people should judge themselves and their lives by their own feelings and the opinions of their family and close friends. But the idea that you have to be famous, or at least powerful by proxy by latching onto a powerful institution (i.e., the military or a big corporation), or else you’re a nobody is bogus. This outsourcing of your sense of self leads to people constantly feeling like failures and underachievers.

    Mr. David Moe lived the kind of life we should all aspire to: judged not by the government, media, and other strangers, but rather by his own moral code and by his family and friends.

    (Your regular posts at LRC are missed, Karen! I hope your surgery and healing go well.)

  5. Karen De Coster says:

    June 14th, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    David – thank you for your interesting and kind comments. I will get back to blogging/writing, hopefully this weekend. Work and medical “stuff” have kept me busy 24/7. It’s been a bitch trying to balance things, and fit it all in.

  6. Tony says:

    June 22nd, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    What a great obituary. He comes across as purposeful and self directed but not self indulgent. A good example of someone keeping their eye on the ball.

    Your Mom sounds pretty incredible as well. The continuing desire to take care of those responding to her attention speaks so well of her. Calling it admirable is accurate but insufficient.

  7. Roger Finch says:

    May 27th, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Beautiful tribute to your Mom and I so wish I had met your parents! 

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