Category Archives: Death

Death notices

How do you learn about the death of someone you know or have known? Right now for me I usually learn about someone’s passing through Facebook. In the past several months I’ve heard about at least five deaths through Facebook: A dear friend I met at college died from a stroke in March or April, but I read about it on his Facebook page months later. Another friend, one who I’d only met once, but felt very close to died mysteriously in May and it was posted on his Facebook page. Two of my mom’s friends, one of whom I’d become close to in the previous year, died last year — I learned of their deaths on Facebook too. Just yesterday I learned (via by brother via Facebook) that my late cousin’s widow (now remarried) died.

I’m asking you this because when I told my husband (Dean) about the cousin-by-marriage’s death (someone we both admired and thought was very sweet) his reaction was not, “Oh, that’s sad. I always liked Deb.” but “How did Kevin (my brother) find out? and when I said, “Facebook” he was surprised (and sounded disaproving).

I used to hear about the deaths of family members or family friends through my mom. Now, other than Facebook, Kevin will occassionally text me or FB message me. I guess Dean gets his notifications through his family and maybe he figures that it doesn’t matter if people die and he doesn’t know about it, especially if he has had no interaction with those people in a long time.

Maybe that’s the difference between us. I like connections, no matter if they are online or offline (but online has been easier for me ever since there was an online), and if one of those connections is lost through death I want to know. I might not do much about it except write a condolence message to the family in a comment, but I want to know so I can think about that person and what they meant to me.

All of this said, I would not want to hear about the death of a close friend or family member on Facebook — which is why, when my parents died I made sure to call people it mattered to before it leaked onto Facebook. I very nearly learned about my Aunt Ginny’s death on Facebook, but luckily for me Uncle Jack called me.

As much as Facebook has its faults, it does have some features, and providing personal news is one of them.

Finding Johnnie

Note: I wrote the following a few days ago, before I made contact with his son, Jack, who confirmed that the letters were written by his father.

When I moved my blog from self-hosted to WordPress.com many of the photos were misplaced. I’ve been going through older posts and fixing any missing photos. That’s when I happened upon the Letters from Johnnie posts again. And again I wondered what ever happened to Johnnie Gannon.

I’d searched for him shortly after finding the letters and blogging about them, and again every so often when I remembered him. I was never near successful until recently.

If you recall, in the last letter I posted (I actually found more later but never got around to posting about them), Johnnie mentioned that his tour might be extended. I don’t know if that actually happened, but he ended up making a career in the Naval Medical Service Corps, retiring as a commander.

I know this because I found his obituary. And his Find a Grave page.

He did go back to Washington, DC where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from The George Washington University. He then earned a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University.

Then, believe it or not, he lived in Bethesda for a while until he retired to Beaufort, South Carolina.

He was married twice. In 1960 he married Margaret Odessa “Peggy” Pope who was born in Montgomery County, Maryland. She and Johnnie had two sons. I’m thinking he probably met her when he was working in at Bethesda Naval Hospital. (Jack confirmed that Margaret worked at the Naval hospital too, as a business analyst). Margaret died in 2001.

John then married Joyce Anna Nestle but lost her in 2003.

I searched Facebook and think I found one of his sons’ Facebook page. I just now looked again and he’s posted his parents’ graves. And they are the same graves as on Johnnie’s Find a Grave page.

John Gannon died in 2014, two years before my mom died. But he was still alive when I found and posted about the letters. I wish I could have put them in touch before they both died.

A Dream

I’m still getting used to the time change and have been getting up way too early. I took a nap today to make up for my lack of sleep. I feel like I may have drifted off and woke up several times until I finally fell asleep long enough to dream.

It was one of those dreams that seemed very real. I was in Elgin with my parents. I kept kissing the top of my dad’s head, happy he was with us. He seemed happy that I was happy. See, he’d died and then a month later he was alive again. Alive and well — no dementia. Alive and kind — no alcoholism.

Later he was driving me somewhere and I said to him, “Dad, you know that what happened to you has never happened to anyone ever, right?” He asked me what I meant and I told him that we thought he was lost to us, but he was back. And fixed.

I woke up then and it took me a while to remember that I was on vacation in Olympia and that my dad was, in fact, still dead. I also, in those few waking seconds remembered that I’d dreamed this same sort of dream many times, but never remembered them.

I don’t really know what it means, although I have a clue that I will keep to myself for now.

Dad and me, circa 1958