Uncle Frank was my Mom’s older brother. He was one of five siblings born during the depression on the poor side of a small town in Pennsylvania. Their Dad passed away at a young age in a scandalous accident for which the kids suffered the slings of vicious comments and gossip. Their Mom took it very badly, suffered emotionally and passed away at the young age of thirty-six.
I don’t know a lot about the life of my Uncle Frank prior to his going off to World War II. When he came back, he was not the same. Today they would call it post traumatic stress disorder for which there are known treatments. Unfortunately back then he was just considered a wounded vet and got the best care available.
Uncle Frank lived with my Uncle Ray’s family for many years until they had their hands full with children and were unable to take care of him also. While he was there, I would go along with my parents and brother to visit. Uncle Frank never got over the trauma he experienced during the war. We had some nice but brief conversations as I was very young then.
After many years spent living in foster care, Uncle Frank was transferred to a veteran’s hospital. They eventually found the right combination of protocols so that his condition improved. My cousin quoted him as saying that he felt everyone in the family left him. I can’t imagine how he felt given the life he had which was not idyllic by anyone’s standards.
I write about this because I haven’t seen Uncle Frank in more years than I can remember. I moved to Boston and then Florida, and he was up in New York State. A few weeks ago I started seeing doves in the back yard. A sign, I’m told, of someone passing peacefully. I then learned from my cousin that Uncle Frank had transitioned and left an inheritance for his family.
Uncle Frank was a kind and sensitive soul. He was unable to harden himself against the brutality of war. He also felt the sting of the distance from family even though his family did visit. How ironic and loving that this sensitive man who gave so much for his country and everyone in it and got so little of what he needed in return, would still give after he was gone.
I pray and send blessings for my Uncle Frank’s soul and everyone who must face the perils of war. Let’s choose peace inside and outside of ourselves in every conversation and in every interaction. Let’s talk things over as human beings recognizing we each have common needs rather than escalate issues to the point of damaging lives. God Bless us all, especially Uncle Frank. Namaste