Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Saying Goodbye to a Giant Among Men

Dr. John Allen passed away this morning due to complications from surgery. This hurts more than most because just 3 short days ago, he seemed perfectly fine.

As a five year old girl, I had to get used to a new house, a new ward, and new friends. I was about ready to be done with new things by the time my mom told me we were going to see a new doctor. Like most children, I did not enjoy doctors and so I went with an attitude. I sat around waiting in a strange office hoping that he wasn't old and mean. When he walked in the room he didn't look too old, and he sure didn't look mean! In fact, he looked just like a grandpa should look. I wasn't completely convinced until he started to do my checkup and asked if there were dogs in my ears. I looked at him like he was crazy, until he looked in my ears and a dog barked! I was amazed! And then he found a frog croaking in my throat! I had officially labeled this doctor as cool! The visit was fun and I got a sucker when I was done, so by the end, I was completely sold on going to this new doctor!

Luckily for my family, this new doctor wasn't just a physician, he was also our friend and neighbor. I probably ran over to his house for some medical aillment more than I went to his office, and he never complained. So many little emergencies (Conner bitting into his tongue, Alex splitting her lip, Hana hurting her ankles from volleyball) were all taken to Dr. John before we ever even thought of the emergency room! Just this last summer my mom and I were concerned that my surgery site was getting infected under all of the bandages, but I wouldn't let anyone take off the bandage because I knew how much it would hurt. Finally I consented that the only person I would allow to take them off would be Dr. John. I went over there - on the 4th of July mind you - and he took the time to pull off my bandage (which was like a huge very sticky bandaid), inspect the site, and proclaim it healing very well. Then he went back outside to be with his family for their barbecue. This was a man who only thought of others. Never himself.

Every Christmas, my mom would think long and hard over what to give as neighborhood gifts. And of course, as soon as she had gotten the perfect thing, she would bundle us kids up to go out and deliver them. Those were always bitter cold days that we went out on, but we loved going to the Allen house because Dr. John or his wife Luana would always invite us in to get warm before we went on. That was always appreciated!

After Alex was born, who was a very sickly child, we grew even closer to Dr. John. He was always concerned for our family and he was so much fun that us children loved being with him! He became so close to our family that he was asked to participate in Rob's baby blessing (that's where the picture is from above)! Neither of my grandpas hold the same beliefs that I do, so it was nice to finally have a grandpa that I could go sit with at church. I never quite took advantage of that like Robbie has! He goes almost every Sunday and without even asking starts to rummage in Luana's purse for the candy he knows is in there!

As his children have grown up and got married, I have seen him change into the perfect grandpa! He was always willing to play with the children, regardless if it was board games or baseball. When Jake and I were babysitting for Wendy, him and his wife came by to grab a few things, but also just to see if we were surviving. As soon as they were in the house, all three children just flew into his arms!

My last memory of Dr. John is one that I will always treasure. It was Thursday night, and as Jake and I were driving home, Jake was purposelly sliding around corners for fun. We thought we were alone, but as we got out of our car, Dr. John was in his driveway laughing at us! He had been shoveling his driveway and had seen us slide around the corner. I'm so glad that my last memory was of his laugh! Of course, Dr. John was almost always laughing!

He will be missed by all. Because of the service he rendered so willingly and quietly, thousands of lives have been touched by him. Please pray for his grandchildren, his children, and most importantly, his dear wife. We love you Dr. John!