An Amazing Man, But Did Anyone Know?

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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.

8:45 pm on June 4, 2012