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Just jumping back in

In an attempt to not lose December on LJ again (like last year), I'm just going to post without an attempt to catch up on all those lovely things I thought about posting on since before Thanksgiving sometime...

My father called this morning to tell me that my cousin Paul died somewhat unexpectedly last night. Paul had myotonic dystrophy, a genetic disease that can show up as fairly minor muscular weakness, to more severe weakness, and as mental retardation. All of my father's siblings had MD in the milder form (which wasn't dignosed until they were adults), and about half of their children had more severe forms including mental retardation.

Paul was 53, four years older than me. The immediate cause of death seems to have been a breathing problem probably caused by or aggravated by the MD. He had a fall earlier in the week and was taken to the emergency room where they noticed his O2 level was too low and put him on supplemental oxygen. Then he fell again yesterday, saw his internist, and was admitted to the hospital when they couldn't come up with a reason for the low O2. He was to see various specialists later, but died overnight.

Paul and his family lived on the same block as my family for a few years of my childhood, and we all played together--Paul and my sister were the same age, his younger brother Richard is less than a year older than I, and his older brother was the same age as my older brother. There was something of a golden period in there when my interest in horses and things related to them (like cowboys) coincided with Paul's, and we had lots of "let's pretend" games in our adjoining back yards. But I got impatient with Paul's interests as I grew older, and they moved away in any case. Paul, on the other hand, loved cowboys and Westerns his whole life--he bought complete sets of some of the classic TV westerns, collector items from places like the Franklin Mint, and wrote stories of his own as well. I suspect his mental age was about 13 or so. He had been living in a care home in the same city as Richard since their mother died.

Burial will be in Moultrie, Ga., probably next weekend. The shrinking group of first cousins will gather again (those who can make it)--we started out as 16, and are now 11. If it's on the weekend, I and my younger brother's family will drive down, and we'll bring my father back up here to spend Christmas. If it's mid-week, probably only me and my brother will go, as the kids still will be in school.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 15th, 2005 04:03 am (UTC)
We're sorry for your loss. Go and come back safely.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Nancy Barber

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