This week has been a difficult one emotionally - for me and my family. I'm fortunate to know some amazing men - first, my father, who was the best father any girl could imagine having. He never missed piano recitals, concerts, football games when I was in band, and so on. I treasure having a close relationship with him. Next, my Grandpap (mom's Dad; Granddad passed away when I was small and I don't remember him all that well). Grandpap was incredibly patient - my favorite memories are with him on vacation at the lake, where we go every summer. He taught me and my four sisters to waterski... And of course, my husband - I don't think I can count the number of times I just stop and thank God for bringing him into my life.
But this post is about another extraordinary man - my Uncle J. Uncle J has always been a favorite - since Grandpap passed away a few years ago, he's taken over driving the boat while we waterski. He taught DH to ski, and was patient when I was trying to learn to slalom. He's quiet, rather private, patient, sarcastic, but very funny. Uncle J has never married. A few years ago, he began dating a wonderful woman, whom I'll call A. The first time I met her, she reminded me of my mom and aunts. She fit in our family beautifully. A has two grown daughters- both very sweet girls. One is married. About a year and a half ago, A began having trouble with her foot... and then increasingly, more and more health problems seemed to surface. It took a long time to finally come up with a diagnosis - ALS. She went from being a vibrant woman, to confined to a wheelchair, and then finally, bedridden, unable to speak except through an electronic device (I never saw it and I'm not sure how it really worked), but she was able to communicate using it. It must have been so frightening - to be trapped in her own body. Uncle J helped her first by making her home wheelchair-accessible when she could no longer walk. He continued to care for her - taking her to doctors appointments, and has been caring for her for the past year. Towards the end, when she was really bad, my Grandma would tell me about him having to suction her lungs when she couldn't breathe. Every time I heard about it, my heart just broke for him. My sisters and I, after we met her, couldn't stop saying how happy we were for him. And then, this...
A passed away this past Sunday, in her sleep. She was 57. DH and I drove up Wednesday night for the funeral, which was yesterday morning. Watching my uncle be a pall-bearer for the woman he loved, but never really had a chance to share a life with.... well, I don't have any words. I've asked myself so many times - why did God bring A into Uncle J's life, when He was going to take her away? I don't know... but maybe it was because He knew how much she would need him.
At the luncheon after the mass and burial, I was really happy to see A's daughters joking around with Uncle J. A's oldest daughter and her husband are planning to come for a day when the family is at the lake in a few weeks. I really hope and pray that they will remain in his life.
If you would say a prayer for my Uncle J, and A's family, I would really appreciate it.