We're in Vermont, at Smuggler's Notch Resort, having a fabulous Thanksgiving vacation. And it would have been more fabulous if my Uncle John hadn't died on Thanksgiving morning. We'll be driving home tomorrow anyway which is a good thing because the funeral is on Tuesday, with viewings on Sunday and Monday.

I loved my Uncle John. He was my mother's younger (and only!) brother. He's the one in the wheel chair in the picture I posted when Aunt Mary died. When he was younger they called him Brother to distinguish him from my grandfather, I guess, who was also John. [Note: I learned at Uncle John's funeral that he was actually John Henry Devine, Jr. ] He and Aunt Carol took us to the park once while they were dating-who would want to take their nieces on a date!

He came to my PhD graduation ceremony in 1995. That's 13 years ago-he was in better health, as was Ruth. The five of us went out for lunch afterwards. Jerry's gone now, and so is John.

I called too late to speak with him. I called to wish him a happy Thanksgiving and my cousin Rick told me that Uncle John had died about an hour before I called. Gini spoke with him on Wednesday and she said that he sounded bad. He was slurring his words-I guess the brain cancer had spread. He told Gini that he was dying but that we shouldn't feel sad-he had had a good life.

Sleep peacefully, Uncle John. At last you are pain free.

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