Thursday, January 15, 2004
every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were;
any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankind;
And therefore never send to know
for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
John Donne, poet (1573-1631)
It's odd that this quote appeared in my A.Word.A.Day email for today. Yesterday I got a call from my mom, telling me that my last uncle, her last brother, had died of pneumonia the night before. I can't imagine how hard this must be on her. She's now had three brothers die in the space of about 4 years. Since her mother died when she was in high school, and she was the #2 child (behind my oldest uncle), I imagine that she did what most older sisters do and became a sort of surrogate mother to her younger siblings. She sounded OK on the phone, but I know things are going to be rough at the funeral. I hate to see my mom in pain in any way, and this is a lot of pain for a person to go though in a short span.
I was trying to think of my defining memory of my uncle Paul (I don't capitalize "uncle" because we never called our uncles and aunt by the titles, just by their names). There is, of course, the last couple of years, after his accident, when he had been little more than a functioning vegetable. He was working with one of his brothers in loading a horse onto a trailer when the horse kicked the gate that Paul was closing. It knocked him to the ground and out, and he ended up having to have a partial lobotomy, more or less, to deal with the swelling and subsequent brain damage. I didn't see him much during that time, though, so I prefer to remember when he was younger, when I was a kid. I remember him building a chopper, and I thought he was the coolest guy I knew. I don't think I ever got to ride on it, but maybe he let me sit on it. I remember, when I was a teenager, the grief he and his former wife went through when his youngest child died at age three. Jeff had birth defects, and I can always remember his mother crying out at the "wake" about how he never got to call her Mama. I think their marriage broke up over issues surrounding that grief. And, yes, I remember the grief at the hospital directly after his accident, the guilt his brother Bill (who owned the horse) felt about Paul's life coming to an effective end. Mom is convinced that that guilt brought back the cancer he had recovered from but ultimately died from.
The funeral is tomorrow. I'm taking a half-day and going up to be there for my mom. Please pray for all of us.
Hi, I'm Debi. Once in a while I have a thought and I like to write it down before it goes away. This is where I write it.
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