Follow by Email

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Celebrating Births, Encountering Death

The circle of life continues to reveal itself to us. While celebrating Doug's birthday yesterday, and Doug's father's 87th birthday today, we received news yesterday morning that my uncle Mel had died some time during the night. He was 93. We are so thankful that we are nearby now and over the past two weeks we were able to share in some special time with him, including his 93rd birthday at the end of January. All three of his sons, only one who lives nearby, were able to be in town for this day and it is truly a day to remember. Mel loved it and commented that it was one of the best days of his life. I think he felt that all was complete now and he was ready to join his wife Dorothy of 67 years, my mom, who was his younger sister, and my dad, his two other brothers and their wives and of course, his parents, my dear Grandma and Grandpa Nelson. Mel and Dorothy were married for 67 years! They were a great couple who enjoyed life with gusto and laughter. Here's a photo of our celebration of that special moment.

Mel was the last surviving sibling of my mom's family and the oldest too. Over the past two years he has suffered the loss of my mom, his wife, and my dad. He lived across the street from my folks and after their wives died, my dad and he got into the habit of sharing an afternoon beverage together. Mel often commented how he missed these daily visits.
Two years ago, just after his 91st birthday, we took him out golfing! He was still amazing in the way he could swing the club. Unfortunately just after that an infection attacked his system and he began to weaken in a significant way. Even so, his positive outlook, easy going manner, and joyful spirit did not diminish. He was grateful for every small thing in life and remained a positive, delightful person to be around.
Even in the two weeks since we arrived we had seen him decline. His sons were struggling with how to best care for him, wondering if he needed to be moved into a care facility. I think when Uncle Mel heard this his only thought was that the only move he wanted to make was to heaven. And so he found peace in his sleep and is now released from the pain of aging and reunited in the heavenly realm with his loved ones.
As mentioned, Doug and I remain grateful that we are nearby. It's a bit strange to think that the cousins are now the oldest generation on the Nelson side of my family and yet, my parents, their parents, and my mom's siblings have all meant so much to our entire family and the warm and joy-filled memories we have of shared times together are deep and abiding.
Peace to the memory of my Uncle Melvin Richard Nelson. He lived well and long and we thank God for that.