Sanford K. Hoffman
30 Jan 1938 - 12 Sept 2014
I am blessed to be the daughter of this remarkable man!
I will miss his tender touch and his sparkling eyes.
I will miss his generosity and kindness.
When we look at a birth date and death date there is always a hyphen that separates them. The two dates represent a beginning and ending of life. That hyphen represents an entire life!
What a life it has been! There are the typical struggles of youth and of beginning a life with a new spouse. And then of course the children! My parents taught us the value of work and provided opportunities to do it.
He was left without his sweetheart far too young. It was a struggle to go on without her. He loved so deeply and wanted to re-create that love with another. It was more of a struggle than he anticipated and it never did work out.
Heartache for all of us at watching him struggle and make choices that weren't appropriate. Still we loved him dearly. We encouraged and prayed.
New friends came into his life and new hobbies. Riding motorcycle was probably the biggest change. He loved it and enjoyed it often. Because of his new friends, we made new friends too. He didn't keep his friends to himself. He shared.
A beautiful day in September three years ago brought us together for a wonderful cause. Then last November Kurt and I had another cause to celebrate his spiritual life with him. At Christmas I asked if we could go to the temple together this year and he agreed. Unfortunately, his illness prevented us from getting there.
A feeling of "unwellness" prevailed beginning in March. Many trips to see physicians. Possible answers but no one was able to help. The headaches began the end of June. Three weeks of headaches and exhaustion lead us to more doctor visits. Ultimately the MRI showed a mass in the brain.
What an ugly word!
An even uglier disease with consequences that cannot be avoided. This cancer would take my vital, active, hard-working daddy and turn him into a man who would be unable to do anything for himself. He could not feed himself or sit up alone. He needed assistance with everything. It was heart-wrenching to witness.
There is a symptom time-line that we are watching. Yes, he does that. Yes, I've seen that and that. Time moves forward and more and more symptoms appear.
Sunday, September 7th, the breathing is beginning to change. There is an apnea of sorts that affects brain injured people called Cheyne-Stokes. Dad's brain was injured due to the tumor.
Wednesday the 10th, he no longer is able to eat nor should he for fear of aspiration. The Cheyne-Stokes breathing is par for the course at this point.
Thursday the 11th. We gather as a family to give him one final blessing. Kurt is voice. He is told it is okay for him to leave us. We will take care of one another. We have grown closer because of this experience. You have been a good father, teacher and an inspiration to us. You will be welcomed by those who love you on the other side.
Friday at 3:30am, a phone call to tell us Dad's breathing has changed. It won't be long. We gather once again at his bedside and hold his hands, stroke his hair, massage his feet, kiss his face. He is unaware that we are there but we tell him of our love.
7:15 brings about a slowing of his breathing. I go and sit with him and watch him. I asked if others have noticed the breathing and they confirm what I asked. A few more minutes pass and again there is a pause in his breathing. All gather and we watch as he takes his last breaths. 7:27 brings the end of his mortal life. He is free from the headaches and the body that no longer allows him to function. A body that has withered to skin and bones.
A beautiful, peaceful passing from one life to the next. Tears flow. We will miss him as we let him go. Temple covenants bring peace to our hearts. Happy tears fall as we think of the reunion with our mother. He meets a brother he's never met. He gets to see his father for the first time in 50 years.
All is well! Yes, all is well!
And we will miss him.