A Perfect Ending

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I really don’t care for April Fool’s Day.  It was on April Fool’s Day 1984 when my brother had to call me and my sister and tell us our father had passed away.

This last Memorial Day weekend I had a chance to talk with someone who was with my dad during his last moments.

My dad was a Life Master bridge player and was competing in a tournament with one of his favorite partners, Masa.  He and Masa had been doing well and he was reviewing some of their results.  He just gently crumpled forward and at first Masa thought he was clowning around, fainting because they were doing so well.

It quickly became obvious that something was wrong and an announcement was made for anyone with medical training to come to his assistance.  There were doctors and other medical people playing in the tournament and he had immediate attention.  Unfortunately he had some kind of massive heart failure and had slipped away very quickly and quietly.

He was gone in just a moment with no pain, doing something he loved to do, surrounded by his friends and peers.

Here is my dad at one of his favorite activities, teaching bridge!

FEB 18 1971, FEB 20 1971, FEB 24 1971; Y-Wives Gets Lesson in Bridge; Sam Matsumoto gives a lesson in bridge at Aurora Y-Wives class. The classes, which meet each Wednesday at the First Presbyterian Church, 1585 Kingston St., also include yoga, painting, and stitchery and ceramics. There are also classes for preschool youngsters. Seated at the table are, from left, Joan Elliott, Emily Corey, Pat Myers and Bernice Yoder. The children's classes are at the same hours.; (Photo By John Prieto/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
FEB 18 1971, FEB 20 1971, FEB 24 1971; Y-Wives Gets Lesson in Bridge; Sam Matsumoto gives a lesson in bridge at Aurora Y-Wives class. The classes, which meet each Wednesday at the First Presbyterian Church, 1585 Kingston St., also include yoga, painting, and stitchery and ceramics. There are also classes for preschool youngsters. Seated at the table are, from left, Joan Elliott, Emily Corey, Pat Myers and Bernice Yoder. The children’s classes are at the same hours.; (Photo By John Prieto/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Masa reminded me that dad’s last moments were doing something he loved.

How often do you hear someone say “I hope I go in my sleep”?

I was visiting him and my mom that morning and remember him getting ready to play in the tournament.  He was going to have a fun and happy day.

Thank you Masa for making a sad memory a happy one too!

 

Memorial Day 2015 Colorado Thank You to Our Military,

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You are likely to find me in one of two places on Memorial Day.   Either way I will be honoring my father and his service to his country in the United States Military during World War II.

Sam Y. Matsumoto

In odd number years you will find me at the Nisei War Memorial at Fairmont Cemetery in Denver, Colorado singing with the choir for the annual Memorial Day service.   (Nisei is second generation here in America)

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The Memorial is engraved with the names of Japanese American Nisei veterans from the Rocky Mountain region who served in the United States Armed Forces and who are now at rest.

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In even number years you will find me at the Bolder Boulder, an annual Memorial Day 10K  honoring United States military.   This is a run, jog or walk race.

About 50,000 people participate every year and the race starts in over 90 waves depending on your speed.

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The race finishes in Folsum Field. As you complete the race you enter the stadium where those who completed the race before you and other supporters cheer you over the finish line!

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Each participant wears a special bib on their back with the name of the person they want to honor.

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I am grateful for my country and the freedoms granted to its citizens which are protected by brave men and women like my dad.

Scottish Bagpiper Ian Jackson at Simpson UMC Memorial Day 2015

 

We were lucky enough to be inspired by Ian Jackson who helped us celebrate the lives of those we lost in the last year.

The bagpipe is an amazing instrument.

I don’t know the name of the song but it was a truly inspiring experience.