I was all set to talk about my second Christmas. How I seem to be doing okay this second Christmas after Kathy passed away from Huntington’s Disease. About how I got myself a few presents in December like a mattress and a new phone. About how I got to spend part of Christmas eve day with my childhood friend Tony, from third grade. And Christmas eve with my Aunt Josie, age 95 and my cousin. And kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. Maybe even some great-greats in there too. This Christmas day would be the first one home alone with Marty. No visits or dinners.
Christmas morning a white cat stopped by. I didn’t recognize it. It was in our yard enjoying the sunshine. It looked like it had one eye. Kathy had a white cat named Ellie. Ellie moved with Kathy from Florida to Plymouth when we first lived together. Our first pet. She came with us in our moving truck when we moved to Boulder. Then learned to live with Max our first basset hound.
I kept watching the cat. The cat was watching me. I started to fantasize it was Kathy coming to visit me on Christmas. But the cat was telling me that Kathy was with her brother Ted, today.
Kathy’s brother Ted died from Huntington’s on Christmas.
When his wife Anita called me tonight I answered with a “Merry Christmas!” I started to thank her for the present she had crafted and sent to me. A memory of our reunion this summer in Georgia.
Ted’s death was a shock of timing, I guess. Not unexpected. Like Kathy, he had a terminal disease. We just assumed he had more years left – tough years to be sure. This summer at the reunion, he was able to do things on his own. He could still walk around the house on his own. Feed himself. Could still say “I love you.”
Christmas morning Ted was in the bedroom and called out for his mother. (She passed from Huntington’s in 1980). They think his heart probably just gave out. When Anita told me my floodgates opened. I had a good cleansing cry. He was such a good guy. A Marine. A good dad. And a good friend. And hilarious, too. I am glad he didn’t have to suffer the many years that were ahead. He did miss “The Christmas Story” movie marathon. He used to love that movie. Rest in peace, Ted.