A journalist observes life in the far north.
About 150,000 people die per day in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Today one of those persons was William F. Polkey Jr. of Union Grove, Wisconsin. Mr. Polkey, who was a mailman, died peacefully, surrounded by his wife of 39 years and his two daughters, Tammy and Donna, who has been my friend since kindergarten, perhaps before. Donna remembers me from our sisters’ softball games. Tammy and my sister, Dawn, played on the same team in Round Lake Beach, Illinois. Donna said the games happened before we started school. I trust her memory more than mine.
I knew why Donna called as soon as I answered the phone. She paused for a long while, looking for the words. Her dad has been ill for many months. I had prepared myself for this call.
We talked about Donna’s mom, Dawn, who will have to learn to live alone after having a partner for so many years. The night before Mr. Polkey died, Donna told him that he could let go if he wanted to. She promised to look out for her mother.
I wish I could be there for the Polkey family. I could use my writing skills to help with the obituary, if nothing else.
Mr. Polkey was a veteran of the Armed Forces and had a television repair business for many years. He was tall, passing down that gene to Donna.
Most of all, he was loved and many tears will fall this weekend in a tiny town in southern Wisconsin, where Mr. Polkey is being grieved.