Monday, November 11, 2013
Happy Veterans Day Uncle Robert, Welcome Home, Love, Cheryl
I took a wet washcloth and washed his face. I prepared his coffee the way he liked it. I placed a straw into the coffee cup and put it to his lips. He was to weak to drink it. In a few hours I would be sitting across from the man behind the big desk down at the funeral home where he and I had sat together 4 months earlier for my Dad.
He told me he was tired. I kissed him on the forehead as he lay in the hospital bed. As I sat quietly beside him there, mysteriously the door to the hospital room opened slightly. I thought about how odd that was as the door was heavy and had to be opened deliberately. After it had stood open for awhile I got up to close it. I wondered who had come to get him before the Nurse, the Doctor and the Chaplin arrived.
It was August 25, 2005 and it was Friday. His chest still heaved as if he was breathing. The nurse said it was reflex action from all of those 71 years of breathing in and out.
I wrote his obituary from the template he and I had used for my Dad, his brother. I said he had "crossed the river". As General Stonewall Jackson lay dying he was still shouting orders to his men. It was said that he suddenly laid quiet and said," Come, let us cross the river and rest 'neath the shade of the trees."
A fitting reward for any good soldier.
Rest well Uncle Robert. I'll see you soon.