Thursday, February 4, 2010

Uncle Ted

I have an uncle that has been very sick. He has had several health concerns. Not that I understand them all but his family says that he's diabetic, has a pacemaker, on blood thinners, and seizure medication, a cancer survivor, and has myelodysplastic syndrome. MDS is like pre leukemia and is a result of his chemo and radiation treatments from cancer. He is not making enough healthy blood cells and his immune system is weakened. He get's blood transfusions frequently and it makes him feel better and he has energy again. But the blood transfusions are becoming more frequent and aren't really working anymore. He cannot get a bone marrow transplant so they are managing the disease with medications (to which his body is building a resistance). Anyway, last Thursday we found out that preleukemia is no longer in the "pre" stage. They're giving him a few weeks.

I want to weep every time I think about it. Then I think, "Snap out of it. He's not gone yet. Remember the time..." I'll share one with you. My favorite story is not really a story but a memory. My family went back to Missouri to visit for a cousin's wedding and we decided to make a trip out of it. There are lots of early Church history sites in Missouri when the Church was first organized and Nauvoo and Carthage Jail are not very far away. They also dedicated several temples locations but only one of them was ever finished because of the persecution and they had to leave. Well, my memory is at Far West where they had dedicated some ground for a temple. We had reached the plot for the temple at Far West right about sundown and everything was kind of rosy and orange. It was beautiful! I had been taught that temples are a special and holy place, and the only way I could think to show my respect and reverence before exploring the temple grounds was to slip off my shoes like Moses did on his mountain. This is a special memory to me because it wasn't long before someone asked a question, and Uncle Ted pulled out his scriptures, and we were all gathered in a circle as a family with our shoes off on the temple grounds. President Hinckley said, "How beautiful is that home where lives a man of godly manner, who loves those for whose nurture he is responsible, who stands before them as an example of integrity and goodness, who teaches industry and loyalty, not spoiling his children by indulging their every wish, but rather setting before them a pattern of work ...and service which will underpin their lives forever." He IS such a wonderful example of love and courage and joy.

Lately, I've become a Facebook addict watching for updates and to see what adventures and special moments he and the family have had. Uncle Ted made a Bucket List. As in, things you want to do before you kick the bucket :).   The first thing they did was go and see Avatar Saturday morning. One of my cousins' wife works as a manager at the movie theater, so they got permission for a special viewing for the family early Saturday. The boys took his recliner and put it in the back of a truck and delivered both the recliner and Uncle Ted to the movie theater. Since they set it up like his living room, he was able to see all three hours without problems. Needless to say, he LOVED it!! Sunday they had people come and visit and phone calls and shared stories and it was a regular ol' party at the Hamblin house. Uncle Ted has only a sister living now (from California) and two kids that live in the west (Nevada and California) and everyone else lives in Missouri within about an hour of the house. Sunday they were all together: Aunt Donna and all his seven kids all home. Talk about packing in a lot of activities into a week! One of their friends wrote, "This time is so precious, and I love that there's such positive energy over there, not as much mourning as just enjoying the time left. Not that there aren't times of mourning too, but we've all been blessed to be able to share in the great atmosphere of support! We'll hope that it gets to last a while longer!" I couldn't agree more! Tuesday they all went to the temple. Uncle Ted got sick, but the temple workers helped take care of him. The sons got him cleaned up and the temple helped them with new clothes. Then they attended the next session. It wasn't until later in the celestial room they were talking about how the session had only had their family when they realized the temple had done a special session for them. Yesterday John posted on Facebook that "Dad decided that he is having too much fun to die today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring..."  But, I know.  Love.  And lots of it.


  1. Cindy,
    What a wonderful post.
    Though it made me cry.
    Your uncle is blessed beyond words for the suport and the spirit that his family must bring.
    I love that he did a bucket list.

  2. This is a beautiful tribute to your uncle, and also to the rest of your faithful family who are looking for moments of joy as they love and support him. Thanks for the reminder about the truly important things.

  3. I don't know you, but I loved reading this tribute to your uncle. He was our Home Teacher in Porterville before they moved to Missouri, a friend in Montana found this and told me about it, so you see, he was gone from Porterville for a long time, but not forgotten. I hate that he had to endure all this, but he obviously handled it with grace and dignity. And the story about the kids taking the recliner to the theater for him shows that this family has the same values that Ted had. My heart goes out to all the family at your loss. Just remember, you will see him again some day. Nancy Edwards

  4. Thanks so much for your beautiful tribute to your uncle Ted. He was a wonderful friend to us when we lived in Springville/Porterville. Please give Ted and his family our love. Erma and Buzz Clark