My uncle died January 26. If you've been following along, he was diagnosed with cancer 2+ years ago. Doctors were unable to find the origin of the beast, making it difficult to treat.
At first, chemo and radiation did the trick. The tumors were gone, praise God! But then they came back, bigger and more resistant to treatment. This cycle continued for two years, until treatment was no longer an option. Pain set in, his body started shutting down. First the tumors on his spine took his ability to walk. Then it was lower body movement, then his arms, then speech, and so on. It was a painful last few months.
He died on a Monday. Late Saturday night they called my dad and his brother and sister to tell them it would be soon. His breathing was swallowing, his circulation was decreasing and he was unresponsive. He was not on any machines, his own lungs inhaling and exhaling and his heart still pumping.
Those last two days were hard on my dad. Watching his brother die, and silently wishing it would just end so he could go home to heaven. But his heart pumped for two more days. Just after sunrise that morning he passed. My family went up Monday night and all the signs of my uncle being there were gone. No hospital bed, no hospice nurses, no ply wood on the carpet used as a track for a wheelchair.
Sunday was his service. It was short and sweet. The minister was a neighbor of my aunt and uncle's for more than 20 years. It was so nice to have someone who really knew Bill telling the story of his life. It just meant more.
The last time I saw him was in November at my grandma's 97th birthday party. At that point he was still able to walk, but was visibly in pain when doing so. I was sick when the family got together the week after Christmas, not wanting to risk exposing him to my germs. I didn't see him bedridden, and I didn't seem him in an unresponsive state. For this I am grateful.
So when you ask me about January, that's how I will remember it. Sure there were 25 days before January 26, but it's sort of like being in college again. I remember the idea we all had that whoever presented last was the person whose presentation we'd all remember, simply because they were last. The presentations before then were obsolete.