Monday, May 28, 2007

He Called Me Twinkle, and I Loved Him

Today, Memorial Day, I honor a very special man. He is one of America's great veterans who willingly gave up his life to protect the many freedoms we hold dear and a way of life we too often take for granted.


Loving Husband,
Devoted Father,
Professional Realtor,
Motivational Instructor,
Ordained Minister,
Community Supporter,
Rugged Patriot,
Proud Marine,
Loyal Friend

This was my eulogy for him:

Although I knew Maggie online through a cross stitch list for several years, it was actually Edward I met first in person. I don't recall if Maggie was indisposed at the time or out running a quick errand, but I remember feeling awkward -- though only for a very short time. Edward introduced himself and I offered my hand to shake his. He said, "We don't shake hands here. We hug." That was Edward.

When my husband proposed to me and I called to tell Maggie and Edward my happy news, Edward was the first to answer the phone. He asked me one question: "What makes this man good enough for you?" I said, "He looks at me the way you look at Maggie." His response to that was, "That's good enough for me," and he turned the phone over to Maggie. That was Edward.

Depending on what time of day I would call, Edward would always answer the phone with a cheerful, "Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening! How may I help you?" (With me, it was usually evening. ;>) I always thought this was just one of Edward's charms. It was only when I mentioned how much I missed this to Maggie a week or so after he died in her arms that she told me he did this because computer calls are programmed to respond to, "Hello," so he avoided saying that word when he answered the phone. Still, I find it charming and miss hearing his greeting. That was Edward.

I sent an email to Maggie venting and seeking advice about a disagreement I was having with my husband once. Then I turned around and sent the same email to Edward, and I asked him for his opinion, too. He was honored to be asked. His advice was sound -- of course, Edward agreed with Maggie, so the advice couldn't have been anything other than good advice. ;>) That was Edward.

He was a husband, father, and grandfather who loved his family unconditionally. He was a dear friend who considered his friends his family. He was a Marine and a patriot. He was a real estate agent. He was very supportive of Maggie's craft interests (cross stitching, crazy quilting, knitting, and so on), and helped her run a small craft-related business. He was very involved in volunteer work with his local police force. He and Maggie officiated many, many weddings together -- passing on their own blessings to many other couples. He loved each of these roles and took great pride in them. That was Edward.

He had rosy cheeks, a robust laugh, a big smile, a full white beard, a zest for life, and just the right nose -- the picture of Santa Claus. One of my favorite pictures of him -- all dressed up and ready to officiate a wedding with Maggie is above -- Maggie made those clothes, by the way.

He was not a wealthy or a healthy man (at least, not by the time he came into my life), and yet he still gave so much, and he did so with great relish and energy. He found joy in every day and shared it widely.

If he were here, he would probably share some sage advice and funny stories. He would want to hear laughter, not tears. He would wrap everyone in hugs. He would show sincere interest in and respect for each person and be overjoyed to see them. He would proudly show off the pair of socks Maggie knit for him. He would dance with her. He would bring joy to his own "party."

I wish I could think of a joke or a funny story Edward might share. Actually, I can think of several, but none that seem quite appropriate -- and Edward would probably wink at me and chuckle for feeling that way.

He will be deeply missed by many. The police station's training room will be very full today. Even though I am not physically there, I am honored to be among the very large group of people who were blessed to know Edward.

Merry part, Edward ... until we merry meet again.


Born July 11, 1941

Livonia, MI

Died June 29, 2004

Novi, MI

Edward Pringlemeir was killed on American soil on June 29, 2004 -- the victim of medical malpractice and manslaughter (according to the Military Code of Justice) committed by a Full Colonel in the Naval Reserve at the VA Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. That Full Colonel, Dr. William Barrie, refused to renew a prescription for Plavix, a medication which prevents blood clots. Just as predicted by the pharmaceutical manufacturer for patients needing Plavix who are removed from it abruptly, exactly five days after being removed from this medication, Edward Pringlemeir suffered a massive heart attack and died at home in his wife's arms.

In Michigan, the law requires an autopsy unless the physician of record signs a death certificate stating the deceased died from natural causes. Dr. Barrie was also Edward Pringlemeir's physician of record -- and readily agreed, covering up his own culpability. This was a clear conflict of interest.

Another obvious conflict of interest is the fact that Dr. Barrie was also the head of the committee to cut VA pharmaceutical costs. I believe this is the real reason he took Edward off Plavix, which at that time was a non-formulary drug.

Three lawyers refused to accept the case because it means going up against the VA and because there was no autopsy done.

Today, nearly three years later, the Veteran's Administration still refuses to acknowledge culpability, has repeatedly denied Maggie Pringlemeir's claim for disability and indemnity compensation, and has left her a destitute, dangerously desperate, and still very much grieving widow.

Her perfectly good car was literally stolen from her -- towed away as an eyesore because she could no longer afford either the monthly insurance or the annual vehicle registration costs -- by the mobile home community in which she rents a space for nearly $600 per month. She hardly survives on her own disability check, food stamps, contributions of food and payments of her utilities by her local church (whom she dares not tell she is not Christian, not even in this country, with its supposed freedom of religion), and an over-reliance on the few friends she has left to provide her with the transportation she regularly requires after alienating all the rest in fits of anger (lashing out at and blaming all of us who care most about her for the fact that nothing in her life seems to go right since the loss of her beloved husband). She is actively seeking her next husband on the Internet but keeps falling victim to married men -- and worse (yes, it is actually possible) -- who are only interested in taking advantage of her. Her chat transcripts are obvious evidence that her all-too-ready offers of online sex (with the promise of more) are largely the reason she is being victimized by entirely the opposite kind of man than Edward was or would ever have hoped she'd find. Her emotional state has become very precarious and I can only hope her remaining friends will somehow succeed in helping her through these terrible crises.

No comments: