Earl Behrens - 2/7/1892 - 5/1985
It is hard for me to write to you, to think again about the pain of our last meeting. You didn't want me to see you like that -- with my failed gift of candy for the nurses. I had finally work up my nerve to visit the VA Hospital by myself -- only to find it too late to give you pleasure.
I feel bad for all the years I lived nearby and never visited. So much family history on thinking you wouldn't be interested in us -- the country relative sort of thing. Rules and etiquette, politics and protocol. Father was so impressed when you were awarded the Presidential Medal. Dinner at the White House. Knowing so many presidents. Republican to the core.
Kind to my father, suffering from the illness of his mother, adopting him, being the father he never had.
I wish I could have known you, really known you. Known your childhood, your likes and dislikes, your stories and your laughter. I wish I'd had the courage to brave the VA Hospital to get to know you.
Wherever you are now, may you be at peace. Thank you for the many gifts you gave to my father, and those that you gave me.