If you are like me – you certainly do not want to be going to the Funeral Home… You want all of your friends and relatives to stay well and alive!
But, with LIFE – DEATH also comes – and when it comes – you sure did not want it to happen to you and your FAMILY …but it did.
In the 1960’s – my husband Lee Aldrich had to have several surgeries due to being shot when he was on the Saint Louis Police Department. Some of the surgeries were in Saint Louis and then after retiring and going to Florida – he still needed more. While in Florida and having one of these surgeries to help him to be able to walk – the Doctor cut some arteries – so that some other better arteries could get the blood to his feet. When I had asked this Doctor what we could expect – he said “Lee has about 5 or 6 months.”
After this surgery and Lee was not doing any better than before this surgery – I was so upset that I blurted out “The Doctor said you only have a couple months to live!” And I continued, “If I were you – I would call your Saint Louis Doctor and tell him to check your records from down here – and we will go back to Saint Louis!” So, that is what we did. Lee had to have two more surgeries – but since there was still a small fragment of a bullet near the heart – these surgeries were just getting the best of LEE – and his health was going downhill, fast.
We finally moved back to Saint Louis – but we still kept the house in Florida – just in case everything would work out for Lee and evidently – that – just was not to be. One night, Lee decided to sleep on the sofa – since he had such a bad day – while I was at work – and he thought that Donny’s bedroom was close by and surly Donny would hear him – that is and if he would need some help? Lee did not want to wake me, because I had to be at work in the morning. I did hear Lee – so, I ran down the hall to the living room- he could hardly breathe – so I helped Lee – into the wheelchair and rolled him to the kitchen and called the POLICE!
The POLICE Officer that arrived – had an empty oxygen tank – I could not believe what was going on – I was ready to lose my mind. The neighbor heard the Police car come – – and came over as they had already knew of our situation and that at any time they would be needed to take care of the younger boys. The ambulance arrived – and Lee and I went to the hospital as fast as possible. After being at the Hospital Emergency Room for about an hour or so, someone came out and said “Lee died!” I’m crying and wanted to know if they did anything at all to save Lee? This Doctor said: “If – we were able to do anything – Lee would only be a vegetable – you would have to take care of him – the rest of your and his LIFE!” And then he added, “You are too young to do it!” You have no idea the misery that I had to go through that night. It was so unreal what was happening… so I had to find a “PAY PHONE” and then called my brother Tom McClarren – as I was without a car and needed his advice as to what to do… NOW? Tom told me about the Southern Funeral Home – so I had called them to make all the arrangements. The POLICE Department was called as they would be paying the bills that would soon – be coming in?
At the SOUTHERN FUNERAL HOME – they had my husband Lee set up in their largest room – as there would be – besides our large FAMILY and FRIENDS – lots of POLICE OFFICERS and people who knew Lee before I ever met him! There was standing room only of people, and my Mother-in-law Louise Stanley – Vosmeyer- ALDRICH, nearly (90) ninety years of age – so over excited – asking me if I knew that – THE – “BILLY GRAHAM” – Preacher, was here to visit her son, Lee?
Well, I knew that Lee had had lots of FRIENDS – but “BILLY GRAHAM” – no way – where is he??? So, Lee’s MOM took me through the crowd and then – she got close to where my brother TOM was standing – and she pointed to my brother, TOM! I took Louise by the arm and we went over to where my brother, TOM was talking with friends – and I said “Tom – you are mistaken as being “THE ONE AND ONLY” “BILLY GRAHAM” – do you want to say a prayer or two – this is Lee’s MOM – and she was so excited that “BILLY GRAHAM” came to pray for her son, LEE!
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