Ice Tea With A Hero...

I have had a good week. 

My meds have all worked together for the greater good. I was able to be a normal Mom for a change and really live up to that billing.  I got my growing by the minute Irish prince to his activities in the early morning and was able to pick-him up. While accomplishing all my errands, grocery store runs and making a couple of dinners. 

All in all a great week.

And while the DC weather has been dreary, hot and humid, I have visited with close friends and had a visit from our family’s greatest hero. My Uncle Douglas and his bride, my fantastic Aunt Pat.

I feel very blessed to have them both in my life. I can’t recall a moment when I didn’t feel loved by this dynamic duo. They have always been more than generous, thoughtful and so invested in my life. No matter where I lived they have visited, fed me and given me some unbelievably generous gifts. My wedding gift from them, a stunning Waterford decanter, has always been on display in my home.  When I opened it, Uncle Doug told me tongue firmly in cheek, always keep it filled... A request that Jeff has been happy to oblige.... The bottomless bourbon decanter. 

All of that aside, it is them, their generosity of love, that I have always treasured. Two people who have spent their entire adult life in service dedicated to our country. And what is astonishing about my Uncle, is he is the most humble man I know. He never shares his accomplishments, he is only interested in yours. I can only imagine what kind of leader he was in his Military career, his selflessness for the people who looked up to him. The fantastic men and women who learned under his guidance about leadership, integrity and bravery. We all should be so lucky. 

What always has been key is that family has always been first to both of them. They are the best dinner companions and Thanksgiving is always better when they are at the table. My fondest memories have them joining us and they always rave about my man’s cooking.  I pray that this year we can make it all come together and that I feel well enough to host. It is my favorite holiday, to sit with my loved ones and delight in my family. 

What Uncle Doug has taught me more than anything is how to manage a chronic disease. Our family genetics clearly runs through his mother, sister and now niece. We all have benefited from some of his Mother Ellen’s gifts, but we have suffered as she did with unusual health complications. Uncle Doug has had Myasthenia Gravis for years. As a kid I always thought his eye patch made him seem like a pirate, or a spy... It was cool, I never thought it was scary.  But, MG can be very scary and serious. Uncle Doug would not let this disease slow him down, he continued to serve our country, and lead a very active life, including a stellar golf game. And while I wish I could acknowledge all of his military honors and talk at length of his volunteer work, I can’t because he is just too modest. 

What I can talk about is that he has managed a serious health issue for more years than he can count. With cocktails of meds, medical teams and alike without ever losing his humor or grace. We laughed when he came to visit,  I was sweating so profusely even with the the a/c, so when they arrived, I apologized as they both hugged me and without skipping a beat he said to me, ”darlin, I've been sweating for years...”   And there we stood in my kitchen laughing, because it was the gift of our overlapping DNA... We were both sweating! Everything else was fine!  And as we both laughed about another shared gift from his mother, we sat down for a lovely visit. We compared excel spread sheets of drug treatments, side-effects, and laughed about our doctors. 

Not the classic family conversation, but a shorthand that we both understood all too well.  

I think that is why he is my hero... Not for his military service (which is amazing), but for the life lessons Uncle Doug has taught me.... 

That you can manage health, and still be the person you are; still trust in the future without being foolish... 

By loving your family, you can grow.

In serving others you can find grace, peace and strength.

I always feel so blessed when I have company on the Pilgrimage... 

Thank you Uncle Doug for holding my hand and walking along...

I love you... KT

photo credit:

Jorge Quinteros