Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Uncle Roscoe Rallying !

My precious Uncle Roscoe has cancer. There, I've said the ugly word. He is in the ICU of the hospital in a neighboring county where he lives. Alone now. Aunt Peggy died, gosh, I don't remember, was it 2 years ago, 3? They had been life partners for all of my life that I can remember. She was diagnosed with lung cancer herself but didn't live long afterwards. He continues to live in the home they made together near 3 of his adult sons (the fourth lives in Louisville). All four boys are grown now, married and have families of their own. He's a great Dad to them and their closeness attests to that. He's a great "Poppy" to all his numerous grandchildren, too. Their presence and shared stories with me attest to THAT. But to me, he will always just be "Uncle Roscoe". The five Smith children were born in the midst of the Great Depression. Papaw had a good job, though, working in the coal mines as a small boy and continuing throughout his life until he was no longer able to work. He and Bernice had five children. Dorothy is my mother and the oldest of the five. Then came the twins, Roscoe and Gabrielene (or Aunt Gabe as I know her), Uncle Bryan and lastly, the baby Uncle Russell. When my own mother was but 12, Grandmother Bernice had to go to the hospital for gall bladder surgery and died there. My mother shares the story with me that the last thing her mother ever said to her was an admonishment to always take care of the children. And that, she still does. She has honored her mothers' wishes all of her life. Or tried to. She loves them all as if they WERE her children.
This is a picture of Uncle Roscoe with his remaining siblings. My Mom is on the left in the picture and Aunt Gabe is on the right.
I have so many childhood memories of Uncle Roscoe. They lived in Nashville for several years after he married Aunt Peggy. He had been in the Army and after getting out, married and moved to Nashville where Aunt Peggy's family, and the work, was. That's where the children were born and they stayed until the plant he worked in closed and he was forced to return to Hopkins County and the coal mines, where his roots ran deep. But he did what he had to do to raise his family. And he did it with honor and pride.

They never had a daughter and I think that MAY be why he teased me so much growing up. And tease he did. He put the fear of God in my brothers, but never me. He always made me laugh, and still does. These days he has FOUR daughters-in-law and one granddaughter and TWO great-granddaughters, so he is surrounded by girls. The picture above was made this past May at my Mom's 80th birthday party. He wasn't feeling great but nevertheless made the effort for her.

This picture was made last night in ICU. He is feeling better and they hope to move him to a regular room tomorrow. My Mom is with him, of course. She is taking care of her little brother. I LOVE how she loves him. And so do I. I know God is watching over him and God has a plan. His plan didn't include a final good-bye quite yet, and I hope it will be a LONG time.
Everybody who knows Roscoe loves him. I ask for your prayers that God's will be done and selfishly, that His will includes some good years left on earth for Uncle Roscoe to enjoy watching babies grow, playing with his dogs and making us ALL laugh, a lot.


Lesa said...

That ever dreaded "c" word! I think I've heard it more lately than I ever have in all my life!
I'll be keeping him and your family in my prayers! It's so precious that your Mom still wants to take of him. There are some ties that are meant to never be broken!

Bobby said...

I saw Uncle Roscoe last Saturday at the Russell reunion (Peggie's Family). It was obvious that he was weak but he was still enjoying aggravating all of us. He had a smile on his face. We told stories about things we remembered about Roscoe in his earlier years. He laughed some and cried some. I am proud that he is in my family. He is a great man!