Victorian who battled many ailments dies just days before Christmas
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Dec. 20, 2013 at 6:20 a.m.
Updated Dec. 21, 2013 at 6:21 a.m.
Maria Lane leaned over her husband, Samuel Lane Jr., Friday morning and whispered in his ear.
"Go ahead and go. I'll take care of the girls," she said.
Moments later, Lane opened his eyes, raised his hands to God and passed away at 9:51 a.m.
"He wasn't in pain. He died peacefully," Maria Lane said. "He was happy, and I know he's in heaven."
Grace Funeral Home picked up Lane's body from the home Friday morning.
By evening, family and friends were gathered by Lane's empty hospital bed in the living room of the family's home on East Red River Street.
Lane's pit bull puppy, Como Tu, was eager to sit on the bed where he'd spent so much time keeping his master company.
"He's been crying for him," Maria Lane said about the puppy.
For the past several years, Lane has been battling a number of illnesses, including congestive heart failure and complications with Type 1 diabetes, which led to his double-leg amputation about a year ago.
The family was also battling financial struggles, which led to Lane's daughters - Maekayla, 15; Marlanea, 14; Leslie, 13; and Monica, 11, - writing the Advocate last Christmas, requesting financial assistance to help pay for their father's funeral.
Generous donations poured in from the Crossroads community, and Maria Lane said the entire funeral bill has been paid through private donations.
"We knew the funeral services and the flowers were taken care of, but we just found out someone paid for the obituary and cross necklaces for each of the girls," she said.
Two days ago, Leslie Lane said her father expressed how he was feeling tired and didn't have the strength to fight for life anymore.
"We said, 'Just go, Daddy. You don't have to fight anymore,'" she said. "He tried saying something back, but he couldn't. He just grabbed my hand."
Maria said her daughters didn't want to celebrate Christmas this year, but she said she thinks it's important to honor their father's memory because he fought so hard to stay alive for another Christmas celebration.
"We thought he wasn't going to make it to Christmas last year. He almost made it another Christmas," Maria said.
Samuel Lane Jr. said he didn't want turkey this year. Instead, he wanted the family to make menudo, a popular Mexican spice and hominy soup.
Maria, who is now on oxygen for her lung disease, said she is at peace about her husband's passing even though the pair's medical expenses have overwhelmed her at times.
As her lungs have worsened, she hasn't been able to work for many months. Maria said she plans to file Monday for government housing because she knows she will not be able to make rent without any income.
"I don't know how long we'll be able to stay here. I've asked the girls not to be mad at me if we have to move," she said.
But the family is not worried about the future.
For now, they're focused on burying Lane and mourning his loss.
A private viewing will be for family at Grace Funeral Home on Saturday night. A rosary will be recited Sunday, and Lane will be buried Monday at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery on East Mockingbird Lane.
Grace Funeral Home is handling the services; the times for the rosary and burial services have not been determined yet.
Maria Lane offered her appreciation for all those who donated Christmas gifts and donations last year and invites anyone who wants to pay their respects to the burial services Monday.
"It's hard when you love someone so much to see them go. But he was ready," she said. "I watched him suffer a long, long time. But not anymore. He's finally at peace."