Aug. 20th, 2009

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My mother called me this morning to say that my uncle Jim is dying.

This is not, unfortunately, a real surprise. He was stricken with Alzheimer's disease a few years ago and has been going downhill rather swiftly. About a month ago he was moved into a nursing home so they could give him the full-time care he needed (his wife Mary could no longer see to his needs anymore). Since then the decline has been much steeper and today my mother told me that he's now lost the ability to swallow and hasn't eaten in a week. The end has to be very near.

I'm torn about this. On the one hand, it's a relief to hear, because Uncle Jim was a vital, active person and would hate to be trapped in the prison his body's become. Death would have to be a release for him. On the other hand, he's my uncle whom I love very much, and the death of someone you love is never an easy thing.

This must be even more difficult for my dad, since Jim is his last living brother (their younger brother Melvin died many years ago). I know he loves Jim with all his heart too, but I also know how much it has been hurting him to see the brother he knows slipping away from him. I've talked to him about this and I know he thinks this is a relief as well, but it's still going to hurt. And comforting someone over the phone is just not the same as being there in person to give them a hug.

So if you can spare a few thoughts for my mom and dad, and Jim and his wife Mary, then send them along. Good thoughts are never unwelcome.

-- END OF LINE --

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Phil C.

April 2011

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