Howard Stephen Hill passed peacefully into the loving arms of our Savior at 5:49pm on Saturday, March 5, 2011 after a battle with cancer. Although the treatment seemed to make headway, the damage the chemotherapy caused to his lungs was irreparable.
We got a call from Heath's mother on Thursday night, March 3rd, who told us that the doctor said to get the family together. Howard didn't have much time. Heath and I packed up and left first thing Friday morning for LA. When we got there we went straight to the hospital. Only 2 people were allowed in the ICU room at a time. Heath went in first while I stayed with the kids. Then it was my turn. Howard was making jokes and asking all about how the boys were doing. Even through his trouble breathing, he wanted to make sure we were ok. We spent most of Saturday standing around Howard's bed as we prayed for him and sang worship songs. Howard loved hearing his kids sing and he especially loved Christian songs. Patricia, Heath's mom, shared a few last words with him and though he couldn’t speak, we know that he was coherent as he mumbled in response. Patricia then told him that it was okay for him to “go” and that all of his children were present. His heart rate dropped in a matter of seconds: 68, 55, 40, 38. Holly then yelled, “Wait, where’s Heidi?” Patricia told Howard, “WAIT, you can’t go yet!” Then, as if someone flipped a switch on, Howard's heart rate jumped back up to the 60s. We found Heidi (she went to check on her 5 month old for just a moment) and told Howard that we were all present and his heart rate went from 60 to 0 in one second. Pretty amazing! Patricia likes to laugh about Howard's final moments of life because once again she made Howard wait.
Howard was a wonderful man. Always caring about others before himself. He loved his children and his wife and did everything he could to support them in all that they did. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
Love you Dad