James Packett’s Certificate of Death

My grandparents were married for less than 30 years when he died.  None of the grandchildren knew him, for the oldest one was my BigSis, and she was about two years old when he died.

My grandmother lived about another 50 years as a widow.  She had a dream once that she told me about when I was a little girl.

There was a knock at the door.  When she went to answer it, it was her husband.  He had a knife, and he was trying to come through the screen door to hurt her.  She asked him, “Why are you trying to hurt me?”  I remember that when she described the dream to me, her voice was her sweet little-old-lady voice, desolate and pleading.

I don’t remember anything else about the dream, if indeed there was more.  I suppose she woke up when her husband was trying to force his way through the door, and take it from me, when your husband tries to force his way through the door, you’d want to wake up, too.

I don’t know very much about my grandfather, just the bits that a few people who knew him have told me, and now the things I find on the internet.  He was in World War I, and was ill from being generally run down and having lung problems, I suppose from effects of mustard gas, but I’m only supposing.  I do know that he also worked in textile mills, and probably had fiber in his respiratory system.

Therefore, I was surprised today when I found his death certificate.  His primary cause of death is haematuria, which is blood in the urine, and his secondary causes of death are a general run-down condition and a duodenal ulcer.   I was also surprised to see that he was a construction foreman on a housing project.

He died on his birthday, but whoever filled out the death certificate put down the wrong month of birth, and I know, from working in many office settings, that it’s so easy to mis-state somehing.  My BigBroBob would have been less than a week old when James Packett died.  In those days, would my mother and the BigBro still have been in the hospital?  I’ve heard that the mother and baby stayed 10 days during those times.  Whatever the circumstances, it sounds like a very stressful time for the family.

Good night, James Packett.  I’m sorry I never knew you.

You can click on this image, then click again, to enlarge.

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