Monday, December 22, 2014

My Uncle Carl...

Yesterday, I got an email from my beloved Aunt Gayle.  Gayle is married to my dad's brother and she is one of the nicest people I know besides Bill.  I can say with all honesty that my Aunt Gayle is one of my favorite people because she is truly a lovely person.  As a lovely person who lives in my Granny's old house, it often falls to her to tell the family about people who are sick and need prayers. I am not one who is big on prayers or religion in general, but when she asks for prayers, I usually oblige.  Yesterday, she asked for prayers for my Uncle Carl.

Last month, when Bill and I were in Virginia reuniting with my family, we saw my Uncle Carl and his wife, Betty.  Carl is one of my dad's brothers.   He and Betty have lived in Natural Bridge for most of their lives and raised their two children there.  Unfortunately, Carl and Betty are both ill.  Betty has Alzheimer's Disease and can no longer navigate the area where she's lived for decades.  Carl has a form of leukemia.  I am not sure which kind he has, but I'm guessing it's AML.  If I recall correctly, my grandmother, who was also Carl's mother, had the chronic form of leukemia for many years.  Unfortunately, I don't think Carl will be as lucky as she was.  He's been in the hospital for about 10 days with uncontrollable fevers.  Gayle writes that the last two rounds of chemotherapy have not been effective.  His body has started to make "immature cells".

Carl was basically himself when we saw him last month, other than being tired and needing to sit down.  He's a very demonstrative person who likes to hug a lot.  He sat between Bill and me and had a long chat, though he didn't talk too much about the cancer he's been dealing with, other than to say that he'd had a relapse.  He told me that he can't dance anymore and that's something he's always loved to do.  He said that Betty has lost her short term memory, so they often have the same conversations over and over again.  He said he's exhausted most of the time, too...  But he was in great spirits and seemed delighted to see Bill and me.

Although I did a lot of stressing before our reunion, I'm glad we were there, too.  I said it would probably be the last time I'd see some of the people in attendance.  In Carl's case, it sadly looks like I could be right.  Based on the wording of Gayle's email, I get the sense that things may be going south very soon, though Carl's doctors hope he can go home for Christmas.  They have to get his fevers under control first.

Me and Carl on the couch.  I wouldn't ordinarily share this photo of myself because it's not very flattering, but since it's of me and Carl, I figure I might as well.

Carl is the one who led the open mic at my dad's memorial.  He told the story about why my dad, whose name at birth was Charles, ended up going by the name "Bill" his whole life.  In storage back in Texas, I have a funny photo of Carl at my wedding.  He has a red rose between his teeth and looks maniacal.  I remember watching him dance at many family parties.  I remember his stories about what it was like to grow up my dad's brother.  Sadly, I think I might have heard his stories for the last time.

Anyway, we'll see what happens.  Another uncle, Ed, has organized a family blood drive in Carl's honor.  Carl is a good man.  I will send him my prayers.  


  1. I'll pray for your Uncle Carl. He sounds like a helluva guy.

    1. I truly do have some awesome uncles. Uncle Carl is just one of several. But yes, he is a helluva guy.


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