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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Uncle Son...

No one would think that I and my cousin, Rick Tischler, are related. He is well over 6 feet tall and lanky while I am (generously) 5'6" and, as I like to say, stocky. He is a couple of years older than me and while we saw each other often while growing up - particularly at out grandparents' home - we were not extremely close. I was closer to a couple of other cousins who were my age and also attended St. Bernard's (grade school and high school). Rick grew up in Moundsview - the suburbs.

I only found out later that he ended up in the same field as me - government contracting. That's quite a coincidence when you think about it sine it is such a specialty. The same as if we had both become proctologists. When he and his wife moved back to Minnesota from Iowa several years ago we started getting together occasionally for lunch, and we also both attended functions of the local chapter of the National Contract Management Association.

More recently we have both been working on our family genealogy, and we correspond by email almost daily.

Rick's father - and my uncle - Ray (aka Son), passed away unexpectedly on Friday. He was raking leaves and they suspect that he had a clot in the artery in his neck and passed very quickly. Our grandmother also died from the same cause type of stroke.

My dad passed away in March, although he had been frail for some time and when he took his final turn for the worse, I was able to travel from Prague to his bedside before he passed. I was thinking about the two very dissimilar ways that these two brothers - my dad and Rick's dad - passed. Ray passed very quickly, at 83, without any suffering. He was active until the very end. My dad, while I don't think he suffered, has been in declining health since suffering a stroke several years ago (a stroke that occurred on the same day as the funeral of a 52 year old former son-in-law, Frank, who had been married to my sister, Chris, who passed away from cancer in 1994).

For the last few years every time I visited my parents I would kiss my dad on the forehead when I left and told him I loved him. I had hoped that we could move to Prague for three years and get back to Minnesota with things no worse than when we left. Sadly, that didn't happen.

It's Sunday night, Kathy and Noah are in bed, and I am having a couple of beers (the big .5 litre bottles, not those wimpy 12 ounce dealies) so I am feeling philosophical and a bit morose. It is the natural order of things that parents mostly pass on before their children, but no matter how long and active a life they have lived it is still very, very painful for those of us left behind.

We will all end up taking the same journey as Al and Son, of course, so it's best if we act around our loved ones as if we could go at any time - because we can.

I offer my sincere condolences to my aunt, Audrey, of course Rick, and his sister Deb and the rest of their family.


Steve "Styopa" Channer said...

I saw Son's obit on Sunday, and thought of you immediately. "Philosophical and a bit morose" are OK.

Rick Tischler said...

I emailed you too soon Al, I need to copy your blog entry from yesterday and also give that to mom & Deb; and I agree with you too, Steve. Unfortunately, I need to be satisfied with a wimpy beer for now, but at least it is from M√ľnchen. I think I'll pop the cork on my Andau red wine and have a glass or two in dad's, and uncle Al's, honor (and for all of the other Sattlers who have passed away).