Written by cycleguy on May 29th, 2019

I was in the presence of a good man last night. I might even venture to say a great man.  My Uncle Bob is the last of the family. My grandparents had 3 natural children and adopted one. My mother was one of those natural children, and my uncles Bill and Bob were the other two. My mother and my Uncle Bill have both moved on to their heavenly home. Both victims of cancer.

My Uncle Bob will be 83 in August. My Aunt Dee will be 82. They live in Arlington, TX and have for as long as I can remember. They have also lived in the Azores, Okinawa, Grissom AF base, and places I can’t remember. He served 31 years in the Air Force and after he retired he served as a postal carrier for 11 years. His knee finally let him down and like his dad before him and his nephew (that would be me) after him, a knee replacement had to happen. Two of his children live near them and one lives in Utah.  The last time we saw them was back around 2011 when they had made a trip to the Northeast (New Hampshire) to see Aunt Dee’s family and then they swung down through to see me and Jo. They were on their way back home when he called Monday night and asked if we could meet up for supper.

Sounds normal doesn’t it?  What is so special about that you may be asking. You see…Aunt Dee has Alzheimers. She started it about the time they came by in 2011. She cannot speak or tell you what is on her mind in any way, shape, or form.  All she does is mumble with an occasional strong-willed sound (like when I tried to help her drink and she wanted to do it herself).  They will soon be married 59 years this year. He takes care of her 24/7. Each morning he gets her up and they go to the mall to walk (he pushes her in a wheelchair).  He feeds her, bathes her, helps her do all that needs to be done. But you know what he really does? HE LOVES HER WELL. We ate at Cheddars last night with them and spent one of the most delightful evenings in memory. We laughed. Reminisced. Talked about family. (My dad was never keen on family so being a close knit one with mom’s was never a priority so we lost touch with cousins long time ago).  Oh yeah, did I say we laughed a lot? It was getting to be 8:30 when we finally said our “Goodbye’s.” He needed to get Aunt Dee to bed so they could get up and make the long trek back to TX.

He has been through a lot watching his bride deteriorate as she has. Screaming all night long. Unable to speak or communicate her love for him. But watching him lovingly rub her shoulder or labor to get her from her chair to the van was proof of something Jo said earlier in the evening: “In sickness and in health. For better or for worse.”  He was a living embodiment of that commitment.

Thank you Uncle Bob for a real live example of someone who loves well. For all time. No matter the situation.


13 Comments so far ↓

  1. Glynn says:

    Doing what he’s doing is a blessing to the rest of us.

  2. Linda Stoll says:

    Oh Bill, I am so sorry. This is a long, sad good-bye. Yet to see Uncle Bob continue to reach out and love his bride well …

    Beautiful, powerful, so sacrificial.

    Kind of like Christ and the Church, yes?

  3. Pam says:

    Truly selfless love in action. What a testimony!

  4. Ed says:

    Alzheimer’s and Dementia are both something powerful to deal with, but Love can always conquer them both!

  5. Lisa notes says:

    Prayers for your Aunt Dee in her confusion and prayers for your Uncle Bob in his faithfulness to her. That is TRUE LOVE. I saw my father take care of my mother this way until cancer took him first. We all need these examples in our lives for how to love in sickness and in health.

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks for your prayers Lisa. i believe Uncle Bob is definitely an example of true love. Like your parents, examples are important. Thanks for the comment.

  6. Cathy Bowers Alfaro says:

    Hi Bill. This is your cousin, Cathy, daughter of Bob & Dee. I don’t think I’ve seen you since you two had your first baby and I was with Grandma & Grandad, your mom & Curt. I have, however, been following your blog for years and see how similar you and my older brother, Brian, are with cycling and music! I’ve always considered myself one of the luckiest people in this world because these are my parents. They made growing up fun, always encouraging, supporting, and most of all, loving us. Our dad has always spoken and shown the love that he had for our mom…and us. All of their grandkids call him Superman (although my daughter-in-law said Captain America because of a movie she saw that actually had dementia in the story line) He is our goal of who to be, my mom was always my goal as a mom, and their marriage is what we all strive for in ours. Grandma & Grandad started the legacy, and my parents continued it. When I read your story, my heart filled because it was such a beautiful story and I am blessed to see it in action! Take care, love to you and your family, and keep on writing beautiful stories!

    • cycleguy says:

      Hi Cathy! Thanks for commenting. I sent you a personal email to chat about some of these things. What a beautiful legacy you, Brian and Sean (and now your children and grandchildren) have to follow.

  7. floyd says:

    Wow… I love to hear about people like your Uncle Bob.

    He is a shining example of what we all want to be.

    May God give us the strength to pull it off.

    Thanks for sharing this, brother. I’m touched.