John Skeffington, a great rec.garden inhabitant has passed on...................

I am sending this the way Barb sent it to me......today we had a good February snow, and I want to think that Mom's Nature knew her son from upper Minnesota needed tribute and a bit of homage in her own way. My Hellebore were blooming underneath snow, my first Hellebore to bloom with snow on them since I began growing them. I have a perennial container I've made just in honor of John that will reside in my Fairy Gardens and remind me every day (not to mention his Deutzia that he started me from a cutting he made and grew in his garage that served as his potting shed. I am honored that I met him and his sweet bride, and that our friendship touched past the restrictions of cyber-space. I spoke three weeks ago and he said good-bye to me, and I suspected he'd try and hold out one more special day so that Barb wouldn't be able to attribute his passing with a special day.
He got her thru Thanksgiving, Christmas, their 37th anniversary, New Year's, and almost made it past Valentine's day. Never was there ever such a gentle and truer love than he had for his lady. And his friends. Each person felt his sincerity and humor upon occasion. I will forever remember me enticing him with my squirrel stew recipe, that I gave him that tickeled him no end and inspired us to become gardening buddies. I trusted him like an older brother, and he took up the armor of the position very seriously and proved himself many times over by being there to listen and help.
To see him valiantly struggling onwards in the last picture that Barb sent me of his first haircut in just over a year, I saw he was growing tired, but the spark was still there. The John that I knew for such a long and short time was still in there. The shell was just sick and tired. I know his spirit will live on in those who were touched by him. All my love and tears of relief that his pain is over go to Barb in this time.
I am cutting and pasting this exactly as she sent it to me and posting it to rec.gardens. If you're offended, I won't apologize. Not this time. Marilyn "madgardener", up on the snowy and cold ridge, overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To all our family and friends, John passed away at approximately 8:00 p.m. this evening, Saturday, February 18th. His passing was painless and under the wonderful care of the staff at the new Hospice House in Mountain Home. He never regained consciousness after his seizure Wednesday evening. I am unsure at this point as to when I will have his memorial mass. I may just wait a few weeks.
I want to thank all of you for your caring and concern since his diagnosis in July 2004. The many cards, emails and phone calls were appreciated by both of us.
John wanted to live to age 80 or 85, hoping to be able to continue with his fun of gardening and sharing his gardening knowledge with others. Unfortunately his cancer was diagnosed too late to make a cure possible. We had more time together after his diagnosis than either of us thought we would have. We even were blessed with a bonus 4 months after his hospitalization and coma in October. John accepted his diagnosis very quickly and fought it with all his might by undergoing 19 chemotherapy treatments that often left him with great fatigue, intestinal cramping, and very cold hands and feet. His attitude throughout was cooperative and wonderful. He never showed anger but rather was apologetic to me for the extra work he caused. Each night he would recall problems he might have had during the day and thanked me for helping him. He is now in a better place enjoying being a gardener for God. I will miss him terribly but I will be okay and he knows that.
Barb
--
"The flowers, the gorgeous, mystic multi-colored flowers are not the flowers
of life; and it has been a most precious pleasure to have temporarily
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