This is the week of my parents’ deaths. My father, Peter Ernest Monash, born August 16, 1924 in Rudolstadt, Germany, had his ventilator turned off Wednesday, October 27 at 11:02 pm. Time of death was 11:15 pm. My mother, Anita Kaete Monash (nee’ Jonas), born June 23, 1928 in Dresden, Germany, was transitioned to palliative-only care a day later. She is being given neither nutrition, fluids, nor medication (other than for pain or anxiety). Her death is imminent.
Edit: Anita Monash’s time of death wound up being 4:10 am, Saturday, October 30, 53 hours after her husband’s.
Memorial service plans have not yet been firmed up. Please make in-lieu-of-flowers donations to the Clinton Foundation, which is doing terrific work in Haiti relief, microfinance, tropical disease, HIV/AIDS, and much, much more.
Much of what I have to say about my parents’ lives belongs in individual obituaries, but their marriage was of course central to both. In the 1950s, my father lived in Lubbock, Texas. Around Christmas, 1956 he found himself in the company of a traveling encyclopedia salesman named Wayne Rexrode. Wayne said, in effect, “Oh, you’re German? You should meet my wife Nancy’s best friend from UCLA, Anita Jonas. She’s German too.” My father brought this story back to the house where he lived with his parents and siblings. My aunt rummaged in her archives — and produced a photograph of my mother, aged 3.
Such a dramatic presentation was possible because the Monasch* and Jonas families had summered in 1931 in the same Baltic town of Henkenhagen, and indeed had spent quite a bit of time with each other. Fueled by this remarkable coincidence, a blind date ensued between two people living 1300 miles apart. In the summer of 1957, my father took a road trip to Los Angeles, where he met my mother. 4 days later, they were engaged. On December 21, 1957, having spent a total of 2 weeks in each other’s presence, they were married. Born January 1, 1960, I was their only child.
*Not a typo. A number of Monasches have separately dropped the “c” after moving to English-speaking countries.
They moved to the Columbus, Ohio area in 1974, and remained there until now. From the early mid 1980s onward, they were self-employed, working together as Peter E. Monash and Associates. Eventually they retired, and moved into the “independent living” (i.e., what most places would call “assisted living”) part of Friendship Village of Dublin. They lived there together, in a two bedroom apartment full of dramatic art glass and acrylic sculpture, until their health started to deteriorate the middle of last year. Pretty much the last time they lived in their apartment together was August, 2009. After that, one or the other of them was usually in the nursing-home part of Friendship Village, if not hospitalized.
Just as I plan to write separate obituaries for each of my parents, I also intend to say more about their final declines separately. Some of their friends will be interested no matter what, and perhaps I can also weave in some lessons about elder/medical care in general. But for now I’ll just start with this.
- Medical information snafus at Friendship Village of Dublin (September 13, 2010)
- How things looked as of September 23, 2010