Report on the death of  Marian Northrop Kraft
by her son Bob

I am sad to report that my mother died on Sunday, the 20th of August 2006 at the age of 94 years, in her room at the Havenwood Retirement Home in Concord NH with my brother David and myself at her side.  Her body was weak and emaciated from her failure to eat much in recent weeks (she lost over 15 pounds in that period) and she was receiving supplementary oxygen through a nose tube, but she was alert enough to recognize us when we arrived around 11 am, and we helped her with sips of water and a tiny amount of soup in the next couple of hours. We kissed her as we went out for some lunch, leaving her to rest. She responded with a weak smile and the words "that helps," as our lips touched her forehead. As we finished lunch, a phone call came from one of the nurses alerting us to the probability that the end was very near. When we returned to her room, she was no longer responsive, and drew her last breath around 3 pm. Our sister Sharon arrived soon after.

On the previous day, Mom had accompanied David, his wife Stevie, and myself to the wedding and reception for her granddaughter Arianne Kraft-Lund, daughter of Sharon and Peer, in nearby North Barnstead. Mom seemed to enjoy the day in all its aspects, from the half hour ride through the countryside to the church (of which she was a member), to viewing the ceremony and talking to the various well wishers who approached her, to the picture taking session behind the church and the gala outdoor reception held in a field behind the house of Sharon and Peer. She predictably ate very little at the reception, although she did enjoy some of the wedding cake and ice cream just before we left. Through it all she was quiet but alert, conversing with those who approached her in her wheel chair, holding her newest great grandchild Violet, congratulating Ari and welcoming groom Rik into the family. All in all, a wonderful day with family and friends -- doubtless also very tiring, although she did not ask for nap time, nor did she sleep in the car on the return trip.  

We returned her to her room around 8 pm, and the attendants helped her to bed immediately. Then we drove back to David and Stevie's home in Amherst MA. In the morning, she complained of chest "tightness" and was nauseous. The concerned staff gave her some medication to make her more comfortable and notified us by phone around 9 am. David and I drove back to Concord from  Amherst, two hours away. In hindsight, although the results are sad, the timing was good -- she had a wonderful day on Saturday at the wedding, and we were able to be at her side at the end on Sunday. Hers was a full life, ended peacefully. She will be sorely missed, but well remembered.