Earlier this month, my Great Uncle Bob fell and broke his hip. He'd been in a nursing home in Central New York for a few years, struggling with debilitating Parkinson's disease. He wasn't expected to survive surgery to repair the hip, but he did. Then, just earlier this week, his wife, who had been living in Texas with her daughter who was caring for her, my Great Aunt Betty, fell and broke her hip. Yesterday, somewhat unexpectedly, she died from complications from the fall. Then today, my Uncle Bob died. They had been, due to circumstances, living halfway across the country from each other for the last few years. But somehow, they were quite bound together, it seems, in the strange way that life presents for us sometimes. Two broken hips, one day apart.
I wasn't as close to Aunt Betty and Uncle Bob as I was when I was younger, but they certainly were important people in my life. My Uncle Bob was a United Methodist licensed local pastor. He baptized me in September 1979. (That's my mom with the 'fro holding me at my baptism in the bottom picture.) When my grandfather took ill when I was in high school, my Uncle Bob also tried very hard to stand in for him a bit. The newspaper picture is from an essay contest I won third place in, a scholarship from the Masons. My grandfather was a Grandmaster Mason (I think I have the term right), and my Uncle was a Grand Chaplain. He took great pride in stepping in for my grandfather.
In my ordination stole, which my mother had specially made for me with pieces of stoles of others in my journey of ministry, is a piece of one of his stoles.
The top picture is of my Aunt Bet - having fun dressing up as a Harley Biker for a day, a kind of fun humor I didn't always get to see a lot of from her. She and my Uncle Bob were snowbirds, living a great deal in Florida, and I remember them coming up to the summer garage sales in my hometown in July, with their "flea market" merchandise to sell, which I was totally fascinated by - lipstick that changed color when you put it on! Fancy jewelry!
I'm thinking of them today, and mostly, of just how life works the way it does. Please keep my family, especially my grandmother and her siblings, in your prayers.