I write this post with a heavy heart, mainly because it deals with something that causes me great sadness.
When I first moved to the team that I am with, I met a nice lady named Kay. She was more of a mother to some of the young guys in the group, and has looked out for me over the past 5 or 6 years. As a matter of fact, she’s helped me get my garden back in shape, as well as bringing some really nice plants and flowers for my garden.
Kay is married to Bill – and Bill is one of the most unique people that you will ever meet. Standing around 5’5″, he is like a pocket dynamo. I’ve seen him do the work of 4 men – and that’s no joke. He’s also almost always smiling, and for the longest time, I’ve always seen him with a Budweiser in his hand.
We’ve had many good times at Kay and Bill’s house – I consider them to both be part of my family.
On July 19th, Bill suffered a massive heart attack. The paramedics were there in 3 minutes, and spent 31 minutes trying to revive him. They shocked his heart 23 times. Officially he was without a pulse for 31 minutes. Once his heart started beating, they took him to Wake-Med, and Kay was told that his time was up.
Miraculously, the next day, he started showing signs of improvement. I went to the hospital on the 21st and met Kay, and she told me that the doctors were now optimistic. Statistically speaking, only 3% of patients that suffer heart attacks at home actually walk out of the hospital. The doctors told Kay that Bill was in that 3%.
We were all really happy. Bill was by no means out of the woods. He was still intubated, but was getting more and more alert. Then, 3 days later, he took a turn for the worse. He developer sepsis, which is a blood infection, and that set his recovery back. His blood pressure came up, his heart rate dropped, and he was having trouble breathing. He had to be sedated, and it took the better part of a week to get back to where he was before the infection.
After that, his progress had slowed down considerably. We knew that he was facing a long struggle, so we settled in for the long haul. Then on Monday, August 4th, while my friend Bobby was over, he got a call from Kay. Now as close as I am with Kay and Bill, Bobby is like Kay’s son. She called Bobby to tell him that the doctors had said that Bill’s chances of recovery had dropped to 0. His neurological system was no longer functioning, and the only way to move forward was to either subject him to multiple, painful, invasive surgeries. Bill had already made provisions within his living will, which indicated that he didn’t want to live like that.
So, the next morning, Bill’s brother Jim flew down from New York, and they took Bill off the ventilator. The doctors gave him some morphine, so that he would feel no pain. At 4pm, on Tuesday July 5th, Bill passed away quietly in his sleep.
Here’s a picture of Kay and Bill
There are a couple of things that I will never forget about my friend Bill.
First of all, he loved to laugh! He had an infectious laugh, and when he started, you were close behind him – you really had no choice in the matter.
Secondly, he was a powerhouse – I have seen him working in his yard – which was not small by any means – and he could work for hours.
Finally – he loved his wife. If you ever met Kay and Bill, they were a perfect pair. They have been together for some time now. He was only 46 years old.
To end this sad post, let me tell you about an IGS Christmas party that we had a couple of years ago. Bill and Kay had come, and we were on the dance floor – our whole team (at least those who had attended), and then CCR’s “Proud Mary” came on. For the first time in my life, I saw Bill not only dancing, but also singing along to the song at the top of his voice. That is something that I will never forget, until the day that I leave this life.
Bill Groski, you were a good husband, a good brother, and an exceptional friend. You will be missed by many. To me, the world is a sadder and darker place without you in it. I do know that you are now up in heaven, drinking a Budweiser, watching Nascar, and smiling down upon us all. Rest in peace my friend, rest in peace.