Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Shrinking Family Tree

My cousin from Cincinnati emailed me last night that my mom's brother Jim died on Sunday. Kathy and I will travel there for the funeral, lamenting again the fact that it seems to take a funeral to get the whole family together. Mom was one of nine children, including a brother who lived less than one day. Jim and his twin brother Mick were the babies in the family. At a recent family reunion this summer, I photographed the remaining siblings - Margie, Betty, Jim and Mick. How happy I am that Kathy and I made the extremely quick trip to Cincinnati for that reunion! And happier still that we took the photographs! While I have lost both of my parents, I have yet to experience the death of a sibling. I can't imagine the grief my aunts are going through, let alone how it must feel to lose a twin. Uncle Jim went through a lot in his life. He and his wife Ruth had six children, the youngest of whom was born with severe disabilities. Ruth died of cancer in 1993, and Jim was later able to reconnect with a woman he knew in school. They married, and she also died of cancer. Then he himself was diagnosed with cancer. Through it all he never seemed to lose his love of life or his sense of humor. This branch of the family tree will be sorely missed. Godspeed, Uncle Jim!

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