Tuesday, November 19, 2013

keep him always in perfect peace

I had a plan for today's post, but it has been pre-empted today by sad news I received this morning. Uncle Don passed away last night. I think I've told you before that I was born during my parents decade-long exile to the frozen north. While we were there, my parents met another couple, the As, who had two children about our age. It was one of those magical meldings of people-- there were certainly times when my sisters and I fought with their kids and times when we didn't see each other for years, but they have been family friends in the truest sense of the word. Even though we weren't related, they were always Uncle Don and Aunt Jean to my sisters and me. I adored them.

My own father, as you know, could be quite problematic. But there were other men in my life who let me know that fathers weren't always so difficult, and Uncle Don was first among them. He was always so full of life, brimming over with cheerfulness and sometimes mischievous fun. When the As came over, the house was always filled with laughter, sometimes delighted, occasionally raucous, always loving. I remember one time when they were at our house, we'd been sent to bed while the adults continued to talk around the kitchen table. I must have been about five. I sneaked back up out of bed and went to sit at the top of the stairs. I couldn't really hear what they were saying, I just wanted to listen to the laughter.

Once my family moved back to Texas, we didn't see them often, but when our two families got together, it was as if we'd never been apart. (Remind me sometime to tell you the story of how their son and I managed to blow up our playhut--possibly the most trouble I ever got in as a kid.) Uncle Don was of the same German Baptist extraction as my dad, but he wore it more comfortably--his devotion to his faith seemed always to be grace-filled, ease-ful.

When I first went off to college, I went back to the school where my father taught when I was young, in the town where we first met the As (and where they still live). For the two years that I was there, the As adopted me. I was invited to their home for dinner on a regular basis, they checked up on me, let me borrow their car, and generally served as surrogate parents for a couple of years. I'm never an easy person to be-friend, and I think that was far more pronounced back then. But they always made me feel welcome.

Their daughter Debbie, who falls in age between my older sister and me, runs a great blog and occasionally comments here. Their son Rob came to my dad's funeral two years ago. We saw them this summer when we had our family reunion in Indiana. Uncle Don's death is unexpected--he had been in the hospital over the weekend with an infection, and although I don't know all the details, I don't think anyone thought it was quite this serious. My mom has been forwarding me the e-mail updates from Aunt Jean, with pictures of him, and it seemed on Sunday that he was getting better. But apparently he went downhill quickly yesterday.

I hope you will say a prayer for Aunt Jean, Debbie, Rob, their spouses, and all the grandkids. Uncle Don was a great man, and he will be missed by all who knew him.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.
  --Isaiah 26:3


  1. I sent my own version of prayers. With love.
    I'm so very sorry about this.

  2. Thank you my friend and sister of the heart. Dad loved you like his own. And I had totally forgotten about The Great Bamboo Hut Conflagration. We spent some time laughing about that this evening so thank you for that!

    1. You're welcome, Debbie! I still giggle about the bamboo hut incident every time I think about it. Unlike most adventures I had with your brother, I'm pretty sure that one was entirely my idea. Poor Rob.