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Please begin with an informative title:

I know the title of this diary is totally stupid but I do honestly need advice.  I'm from an Irish Catholic tradition -- we know how to deal with wakes and funerals in the family -- not always tidy affairs.  A dear friend of my father (departed) and mother is about to be pulled from life support just short of his 91st birthday.

This beloved man served in WWII in the navy -- as did my father.  Twice he was on a ship which was torpedoed -- the second, the USS Helena, was sunk.  My Dad's ship, the USS Radford rescued over 300 men from the oily waters under heavy enemy fire.  This dear man was one of them.  He only went to Radford reunions because he said that on the Helena he was called a "Jew boy."  When he was pulled from the Pacific by the Radford crew, black with oil, no one knew his race or creed -- they washed him, gave him clothes, food and a bunk.

He attended my parents' 50th wedding anniversary which was classic Baltimore Catholic -- Knights of Columbus Hall, buffet, Irish dancing, lots of booze and a semi-ok DJ.  To this day, all of us remember his tribute to my parents which was based on his salvation in the Pacific.  That small, dignified man, wearing his yarmulke, blessed my Mom and Dad and their children.  He remembered those who saved his life.  Tears ran down his face and there wasn't a dry eye in the room.

He lost his wife years ago, has an incredible son and daughter-in-law, survived Hurricane Sandy, and called my Mom every single Saturday since my Dad died years ago.  We are going to lose him -- but more importantly, his family is going to lose him.

Please, dear friends, give us advice for comfort.  He was Reformed but I don't know about his son.  He will be part of the energy and atoms of the universe -- we just want to let his family know how much we love him.

Thank you in advance.


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