THOM O'HAIR'S LAST DAYS
(email from Bix Beaman, one of Thom's closest friends)
Monday-January 8, 2001:
Dear Bungi Friends, It is with a sad heart that I contact you all today, because at 2:00 AM ourfriend Thom O'Hair passed away. Thom spoke with many of his friends throughout the holiday season, and sounded very well. He'd spent Thanksgiving with his family (son Tim, daughter-in-law Ardis, and Grandson Travis) in Roseville, but was back in Oregon for xmas. On New Year's/New Millenium's day, he went out for an evening on the town, and started to have some erratic behavior. After making it back to his group home, everyone was keeping an eye on him, wondering what the cause was, and by the morning of the 3rd, it became clear that he was having medical problems, and was admitted to the hospital. The initial CAT scan confirmed the worst... he had bleeding in the brain, both in the original stroke location and in a new location on the other side of his brain. He was transferred right away to Sacred Heart Hospital in Eugene, the same hospital where he was after the first stroke. As per Thom's wishes, no extraordinary measures were taken to prolong his life.Tim and I hit the road on the 4th, and drove up to see him as quickly as we could. He wasn't in a coma, but he also wasn't lucid... he had some motion still in his right side, and could communicate a very little bit. Over the next two days, we stayed with him; he would come in and out of semi-conciousness, indicating recognition, and responding to simple questions and prompts. On the 5th and 6th he was able to sit up on the edge of his bed, and ate solid foods. He also seemed to enjoy visits from his Eugene friends, including a beautiful serenade, sung to him by Corona on the 5th. His communication seemed to get clearer each day, and it really seemed that he might be able to survive the episode, but the doctors kept worrying about swelling of the brain and pneumonia.While Tim and I needed to leave Saturday evening, Leslie was on her way up to Eugene... getting there late Saturday, but also needing to leave on Sunday. Tom and Jody Williams, and their young daughters (friends in Eugene) were with him Sunday afternoon, but when it came time to leave, Tom felt that O'Hair didn't want him to go, so he stayed behind at the hospital. Sure enough, as the night wore on, Thom's condition progressively worsened.Tom held him, eased his discomfort, and prepared for the worst. When the end seemed near, he removed most of the gear Thom had been strapped to, and gave him a bath, holding Thom and rocking him, reminding him of the great stories he'd heard, and of the love that family and friends were sending. At 1:30 Thom's breathing became erratic, and he slipped away peacefully at 2:00.Tim is now working on the details of a memorial. Thom wished to be cremated; we all know how much he loved Camp Mather, and the preliminary plan is to take his ashes there at some point. We'll let everyone know where and when any memorial is taking place. If you wish to contact Tim and his family, email email@example.com and it will be passed on to Tim.So, say a prayer, sing a song, or lift a cup of kindness, and hug your family tightly, in memory of our friend, guide, and inspiration. And look for his spirit to be flying high above the pines when we return to Mather.