My cousin Bill died yesterday following a battle with his own body for almost eight years. He was 70 years old.
I spoke with his mother Eloise this morning about my admiration for the courage Bill had displayed throughout his confinement as well as his wife Donna’s steadfast support while she helped her husband through the difficult activities of daily living. Eloise said simply, Bill was a trooper.
Yes. Not all troopers are in the armed services.
This weekend is Memorial Day, and I am immeasurably grateful for every soldier who serves today to protect our country from harm. I appreciate their families, their personal sacrifices, and the bravery required to face our enemies at home and abroad. These enemies multiply even as we alienate our friends and struggle to identify ever-changing battlefields. In the midst of a chaotic world our military personnel are asked to protect and defend us with their own lives if necessary. Thankful seems like such a small word for what our soldiers do, but thankful is how I feel.
My cousin Bill had a very real foe in his war with his health, but he won’t get a medal or ribbon for his valor. Instead, in the end he was surrounded by the love of his family and the hope that he will be remembered as a good man who refused to surrender during a very long haul. A worthy legacy.
my cousin Boybaby swinging
with his sister Frances pushing him,
me climbing the ladder, and Bill trying to ignore us
playing on a swing set at my home in Richards, Texas
only children Bill and me at a family reunion
Bill’s maternal grandfather was my paternal grandmother’s brother, and his maternal grandmother was my paternal grandfather’s sister – sometimes our reunions were confusing, but our families were close and loved each other.
I will miss Bill. Rest in peace, cousin.