1halffull's Blog

Dick Lanzer: Our Brother-in-Law, the Good Ole Boy
August 1, 2015, 6:39 am
Filed under: Family | Tags: ,

Lately, it seems to me that the portals have opened up and there is a rush by those I know (and of course those I don’t) to fly away.  Many of these lives have touched our lives greatly; some not so much.  Today was the escape of our good brother-in-law, Dick Lanzer.  I will say, he didn’t go without a fight, but as we all will, he went, nonetheless.

Dick came into our lives later in life.  He and my sister met under circumstances we weren’t even aware of.  My sister, Pat, always a totally independent woman, kept us in the dark a lot – or maybe we just weren’t paying close enough attention – so it was a surprise to meet Dick and a bigger surprise when they announced they were getting married!

We liked him regardless of how he came into our lives.  He had a good sense of humor, he loved Pat and they seemed to be a foil, one for another.  They were a good fit in another way:  Pat had been pretty much on her own for many years.  She liked doing things her own way, working, enjoying friends, coming and going at will.  Dick, being a long-distance truck driver would make that lifestyle still somewhat possible.  They wouldn’t get tired of one another too fast; life wouldn’t change terribly but they would still be together.

Then a ripple.  Just before they were to be married, we learned that my sister was to be Dick’s fourth wife – he’d had two wives before her (one of them twice).  I was a bit uncomfortable with that information and I had a chat with her about it.  She wasn’t concerned, didn’t see herself as ex #4 so who was I to question?  I handled it as I always handle things:  just before the wedding, I told Dick that if he ever did anything to hurt my sister, I would have him killed!

He married her anyway.  I think knowing that we wouldn’t be living in the same town helped him feel safer.  LOL

When Pat married Difamilyck, she gained a huge family!  He has a number of siblings, his mom, who my sister loves, three kids and a passel of grandkids, which was also fun for Pat.  At holidays, Dick and Pat would take as many of the grandkids and kids out for dinner as could be assembled at one time.  Sometimes a couple siblings would join in.  If we were around, we were included.  It was fun to see them all together, because they clearly enjoyed one another.  Dick especially loved having the grandkids around and my sister made a really great grandma!

Then one day, I got a note from Pat.  She and Dick were splitting.  We were sad for the two of them.  And I was mad that I would now have to have him killed!

It was 2007 and we hosted an engagement party for our son and his fiancé.  Of course, Pat was invited and said she would come.  What she didn’t say was that she and Dick had gotten back together!  You can imagine my total shock when they walked through the door!  Boy was I glad to see them!  I wish I’d taken a photo of the look on his face as I came toward them.  He looked like he thought I truly might kill him on the spot.  He asked me if I was going to do it and I responded “Hey, if she took you back, I’ve got nothing to say.  You’re in.”  We were back on track and all was happy.bball dick

We always went to an Indians game at least once each summer and had really fun times. While I worked for the children’s hospital, they’d go to the Annual Fish & Field Report Wild Game dinner with us to try the exotic meats, participate in the raffles and sometimes even see an old crony or two.  Dick loved his motorcycle and his truck (Pat nearly shot him over this last one) and going to the speedway for the races.  Dan and Dick would text back and forth during Ohio State games or the Super Bowl enjoying their sports oriented camaraderie.  He was a Teamster, driving long hauls cross country.  Pat went along for the ride for some of the time.  He was good with his hands and open with his heart.  Dick was what you might call a ‘good ole boy’: down to earth, no nonsense, family-loving man.

Five years ago, Dick was diagnosed with a blood cancer.  Over time, he was treated and went into remission twice.  We were all so thrilled each time he got the ‘all clear’.  He and Pat started living their dream of spending part of the time in Florida.  They enjoyed the Florida lifestyle, but onlydick at house got to spend one full winter there together.   This last year was intermittent as Dick was trying to remodel their Ohio home while continuing with more treatments.

Dick managed to make it to Florida to help Pat close up the house before the trip back up north.  What she didn’t realize was that by that time, he was very sick, to the point of collapsing the second day after he arrived.

He was admitted to a local hospital and from that point on, both he and Pat went on the roller coaster ride of their lives.  Every ride up the steep incline was both dangerous and frightening; rolling down the other side went much too fast.  Pat found her way through the medical barbed wire and was a tremendous advocate for Dick’s care, even thwarting the severe negativity of a physician they not-so-fondly named Dr. Death.  Dick fought back again and again, while being shuffled between two facilities – one where he’d seem to make progress and the other where he’d lose ground.  Unfortunately, his body broke down, one system at a time.

Two weeks ago, in a very lucid moment, he decided he didn’t want to continue; it had become too much for him.  It was an answered prayer so Pat wouldn’t be put in the position of having to decide.  But humans, being who we are, the next day he changed his mind.  Who could blame him?  It’s just not in our nature to lay down and die, is it?

In our family, we believe there’s our desire and God’s plan.  As it would happen, God’s plan relieved both of them from making the decision.

With not much left to try, the doctor suggested that Dick’s blood work and other numbers weren’t on the end that he’d like them to be.  He said they could try a chemo treatment to see where that would get him.  He warned that it could either help him or kill him.  It was a 50/50 chance.  Dick asked for the treatment.

I truly believe that Dick also didn’t want to have to make the official decision.  I do believe that ultimately, he wanted to follow God’s plan, whatever that was meant to be.

Unfortunately for Pat, the kids, the grand kids, the siblings and his momma, God said “Dick, the portal’s open.  Come on through!”  And Dick went on through this morning.

How you see him on this pagdick and babye is how I choose to remember my brother-in-law:  ornery, kind, full of fun and laughter, loving his kids and grand kids and doing all he could to help them, but especially, being in love with and being loved by my sister, Pat.

We’re thankful that he had Jesus in his heart and we know we will get together again at the family reunion, sometime, in God’s plan.

Love you buddy.  Thanks for letting us be part of your life.