My uncle is dying. I'm filled with sadness...that more than 65 of his 90 years had to be so hard; guilt... that I couldn't (or didn't) do more for him; and a sense of relief and comfort that comes from my faith that he'll soon be reunited with his beloved brother (my dad) in some form of a better, eternal life.
My dad, who passed away almost eight years ago at the age of 87, was a World War II veteran. His younger brother, my Uncle Joe, who celebrated his 90th birthday in August, also served in World War II, but has been a living reminder that our freedom isn't free. He was shot in the head and spent the past 60+ years in the care of the U.S. Veteran's Administration, primarily at the VA hospital in Lyons, New Jersey. Despite the fact that Uncle Joe enlisted in the army to serve his country instead of going to the University of Alabama on a baseball scholarship, he has never seemed bitter about his incredible sacrifice. He's had his good days and his bad days, and is extremely hard of hearing, but his eyes always light up when London and Maddie dance into his room to share their latest news.
Tomorrow morning, I'll head over to Lyons to say goodbye in person. Goodbye, Uncle Joe.