He couldn't laugh because he would start coughing. In the
days when we were much younger all of us would be sitting
in the living room watching TV at some comedy. We would
laugh, but his laughter would be choked off. When I was younger
I never gave his coughing a thought, until I began to realize how
seriously handicapped he was. That final time I saw him, my
father was dying, and I didn't want to loose him the way I had
lost my mother 12 years before, but all I could do was look at
him and try to remain in control. Eventually Mariana came in
from work and we had dinner. I don't remember that, but we
must have. The evening would have been spent simply.


A month later, the call came. Mariana said that Dad had collapsed at the kitchen table one Saturday. He was sitting in his usual spot by the back stairs and fell to the floor toward the sink. He was conscious and not frightened. Mariana had called 911, and Dad was in intensive care. He was hospitalized approximately 4 days. At first my father was lucid and could talk. He worsened, and went on oxygen support with a tracheal tube, which prevented him from talking. Thus his last hours were spent without speaking. He could recognize people and look at them when friends and Mariana came into the room, but whatever he wanted to say was lost. Mariana called me repeatedly in Illinois, while I made preparation to come to D.C. I talked to my father's doctor telling him the same that Mariana told him: we wanted no extraordinary measures taken to prolong his life. If he could not survive on his own, then he should die. We knew Dad would not want to live as an invalid, either in bed or in a wheelchair, probably in a nursing home. We believed in his dignity, and knew how much he valued his independence. I did not want Mariana to have the burden of watching Dad living in a debilitated state, and I would be no where around to help. If I were Dad, I too would want to die. 1 think he was surprised he lived so long after Mom died. He waited 12 years to be with Mom; he was always patient.

The very Rev Salloom

     The Reverend Job Salloom was bearded, bald, mild mannered; he had a sense of humor, and it showed in his photos. He died on a Wednesday, September 16, 1936 about 6 weeks after he married my father and mother.

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