29 November 2009

Russell

Russell
At my grandfather's memorial

My uncle Russell is my grandfather's little brother. A year and a half apart. They shared a bed as children, they were both soldiers in WWII, they worked together on newspapers, they drank together, they loved each other. They were close.
Russell was a German POW. As a prisoner he was marched halfway to Russia and back again. When the war ended he weighed just 90lbs.
He taught me how to use a computer, back when computers were for youngsters and hobbyists. I was the youngster, he was the hobbyist.

2009's been hard for Russell. He had a heart attack. And a stroke. And his brother died.
On Wednesday he had another stroke.

Strokes are weird. Weird and awful and strange.

It's weird that he there he is, Russell, and he knows exactly who you are and where he is and what's going on, but he's stuck squeezing your hand once for yes and twice for no.
It's weird that he can't swallow anything, but he's conscious and aware and refusing a feeding tube.
So.
If you don't eat, how long can you live, really?

Strokes are weird, and this year has been hard.