Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Personal Update

Thank you to everyone who sent prayers and well-wishes for my uncle and the entire family. I'll give you a quick update on what's been going on this past week and then let you know what I'll be (hopefully) posting about this weekend.

My uncle is 93 yrs old (he's actually Grandpa's older brother, not younger like I said in the other post). As recently as June he was in good health and was dancing - without his cane - at his grandson's wedding. Then, in August, he had minor surgery and went steadily downhill from there. He's been home from the hospital under hospice care for less than a week, and he likely won't live much longer. He's not in much pain though, so that's a good thing

On Wed. morning my mom, sister (and her 2 yr old and 3 month old boys) and myself (with kiddo) drove 4 hours to New Jersey, arriving at 1:30pm. When we got there, sis took the kids outside and let them play/run/stretch their legs. Did I mention that all three were angels in the car? Mom had a quick visit with her uncle then came downstairs to talk to all her cousins. Oh, did I mention that this is the Italian side of the family? There are LOTS of cousins. At that point I took kiddo in with me to see my uncle. Kiddo went right up to the bed and gave Uncle Nino a big hug, laying his head on his chest. Uncle Nino hugged him back, hard. Can I tell you how proud I was of kiddo at that moment? He doesn't know Uncle Nino that well (we only see him rarely) and when I was 6, old and ill people gave me the creeps. Kiddo wasn't phased at all - he just hugged him, then proceeded to show him all the treasures he brought in his pockets from Maryland. I was surprised at how coherent my uncle was. He was very weak and very tired, but his mind was basically all there ... he even had his sense of humor. Of course, he realizes he's dying and that is very emotional for him. After a while I sent kiddo back outside to play and I sat with my uncle for a while. We talked about how much we love each other, and how he's always been my favorite uncle. He asked about my husband and sent his love. When he got tired, I helped his daughter tuck him in and rub his back, then he fell asleep.

For the next few hours I visited with a whole slew of relatives who were stopping by at regular intervals. At 6pm I went in to say goodbye for the last time to my uncle (he's been sleeping much of the day). I gave him a big hug, told him I loved him, and just stayed close to him for a short while. Then it was time to go to the train station.

Kiddo and I took the train home from NJ at 8pm, arriving home at 11pm. It was an exhausting day - physically and emotionally - but so very worth it.

My uncle lived a wonderfully full and happy life. He is approaching death surrounded by his family and mostly in his right mind (although I've heard that the past few days he's gotten very confused). It is simply painful to me to think of my life without him. It makes my heart hurt.

Thank you again to everyone who sent well wishes, and to those who just "thought" well wishes.

Over the next few hours/days I've got about 10 half-written posts to complete including: Friday Finds, something about food allergies, a blog award, my review of The 19th Wife, an update on the authors I met at Bouchercon, and a post about National Book Club Month in the US. We'll see what I can get finished!


Anonymous said...

Heather, I'm glad you got to visit with your uncle, and that Kiddo interacted with him in such a sweet way. Continued best wishes as you manage this difficult time.

Anonymous said...

It's so nice you have wonderful memories of your uncle.

Amy said...

I'm so glad you got to have that visit. It is so hard to let go of our loved ones, to imagine life without them, but those last visits live with us always. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Dreamybee said...


Thanks for the update. I'm so glad that you got to visit with your uncle and that kiddo seems to have had a good visit as well. I'm sure it meant a lot to your uncle, and it probably made him very happy to see you and the son you are raising.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, life is hard sometimes isn't it. Hope all goes as well as it can.

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