RIP Uncle Gary – CoronaLife Day 299

We lost my Uncle Gary to COVID a few days ago. My aunt and uncle were hospitalized with it December 21st. The first few days seemed like they both were making progress. Then my uncle took a turn for the worse, and the deterioration was swift. Due to COVID restrictions, his family could not be at his side as he passed, an additional burden to the grief they bear.

Most of my memories of my Uncle Gary are from my childhood, before their family moved farther away and we didn’t see them very much. As a result, the memories are rather vague. I remember him as a dark-haired man with twinkling eyes behind his glasses, and I always seem to remember him smiling or laughing.

He could be warm, but he was also a private man, so I suppose it is not surprising that I did not know him very well as an adult, combined with all the time living farther away. He was a Vietnam veteran, and like many of those soldiers, I suspect the war never quite left him. Although proud of his service, I always have trouble picturing him as a soldier, because I always felt he had a gentle soul.

Like me, he was interested in genealogy, although of course his family was not mine (his wife is my blood relative). His line was German, and he read and spoke German well. My line is also German and when I ran into a document that needed translating, he helped me out.

When the Pentagon was attacked on 9/11, he walked for miles from his job in locked-down central DC until he could find transportation home–a now white-haired man just wanting to get home to the family he loved.

And he did deeply love his family. That was always crystal clear. His wife, his sons, and his grandson meant the world to him. They will miss him more than words can say.

The virus stole another soul this week, and we mourn his loss. Godspeed, Uncle Gary.

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