Caring for a parent, Death & Dying

And Then There Was One

In memory of Donald G Staebler
August 18, 1910-March 1, 2017

My uncle Donald died today, the last of my father’s siblings. He was 106-1/2. His sister left us in October. My mother’s sister died in February. Where there were four, now, suddenly, there remains just my mother of the generation before me.

I have written before about Uncle Donald, the family patriarch for so many years, and keeper of the family farm—and our heritage—in Michigan, where he lived almost all of his long life, including decades without his beloved wife Lena. You can read about this remarkable man and my visits to the farm, written on the occasions of his 100th and 105th birthdays.

Donald and Lena had no children, but their nieces and nephews loved them and they loved us. Thank you to my cousins Dave and Linda, and Donald’s sister-in-law and her family for their amazing care of him in the last years and months of his life.

Dave writes to the family that shortly before the end, his sister Linda took a quilt to Donald’s room, made by Lena and her friends many years ago, and wrapped it around him, as he slipped this life and back into the loving arms of his Lener. I love imagining his family reunited in the Great Hereafter.

It feels strange to be so close to being the oldest generation. And incredible that my cousins, sisters, and I have had this buffer for so long.

Happy trails, Uncle Duck. Thank you for your determination, foresight, creativity, and love of family. Your life and that of your parents and your siblings—Lloyd, Helen, George, Ruth, and Melvyn—will remain in the hearts of your family forever.



9 thoughts on “And Then There Was One”

  1. Another crossing on the bridge. I don’t think I have yet thought about what it will be like to be the oldest generation. It will happen before I know it. I am always so thankful for your words. Warm thoughts for your family. 106 is a heckuva lot of years ! ♡

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “It feels strange to be so close to being the oldest generation. And incredible that my cousins [and siblings] and I have had this buffer for so long.” I’ve been thinking the same thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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