Monday, December 12, 2005

A Death in the Family

Yesterday we received some sad, though not entirely unexpected news. My Uncle Bob, who has been engaged in a long, fierce battle against leukemia, died yesterday morning while in the midst of another round of chemotherapy. I believe he had survived seven rounds of chemo over the past few years. No one else has ever survived four rounds, I think my Aunt told me.

After some years of being out of touch with this part of my extended family, for complicated reasons, we re-established contact at my Aunt's initiative about a year ago now. This resulted in a great visit at a big July 4th picnic with them when we travelled back home last Summer. E was really taken with Uncle Bob, who has a . . . had a great sense of humor and tremendous charisma. My memory of the two of them will always be Uncle Bob teaching E how to swim in their backyard pool.

The return of the leukemia is one of the main reasons we decided to make our visit back home before the holidays this year, too. It was just a little over a month ago when we visited Uncle Bob last. It was a visit full of laughter and warmth. Besides making sure E knew his great-Uncle at least a little bit before he died, I think what was greatest about the visit was my Dad's presence with us. I am glad I had the opportunity to be with the two brothers together for the last time before Uncle Bob's last trip to the hospital.

I don't think I'll be making the trip back for the funeral. This is a sadness to me, but I think it is also realistic. I haven't completely made up my mind, but I think it's likely the case.

I think I'll keep this entry as its own thing and write about the other things going on separately.

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