My Other Uncle

My cousin called me today to tell me his dad, my dad’s brother, decided to start hospice care over the weekend. He’s been ill for some time, requiring transfusions twice a week for a long time. Making the switch to hospice care means no more life-maintaining (transfusions) measures. Without them my uncle will fade very quickly.

My cousin, who has been living with his dad and step-mom, helping them run their business for the last 7-months, needed an ear today. From his perspective, his dad kept a cloak of secrecy around family history (me included) his whole life. My uncle, evidently, hasn’t share much with his sons, and what he has shared is full of strife, drama, and oneupmanship stories. My cousin is very, very conflicted.

My uncle is the last one alive of his generation of our immediate family. My dad’s first wife is alive and doing well. She, like my half-sisters, ceased frequent social contact with this piece of the family 40-ish years ago. Contact came to revolve around events, rather than day-to-day life. To further exacerbate the feelings of sadness I find myself juggling, it’s become crystal clear that my cousins’ estrangement to each other was likely cause by my uncle. They both struggle mightily with their relationship with their dying father, and barely have each other to lean on.

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