When a family hero is lost.
There are heroes who are lost in time of war and there are heroes who are lost in civilian life. (As to the latter, I am thinking of those, for instance, that helped or were victimized in the 9/11 crisis and in other catastrophes.)
These heroes get medals and honors for bravery in the face of extreme danger. Sometimes the acknowledgment comes posthumously.
Then there are the family heroes. They are a different sort, quiet, unassuming, but unwavering in their dedication to others. Their acknowledgment too sometimes comes posthumously.
Today we lost just such a family hero. By writing about him, I acknowledge him and honor his memory.
He is a hero of mine.
This family hero was one of six siblings. With his passing at age 87, he joined three brothers and a sister who predeceased him. We are lucky his youngest sister is still with us and thriving.
Nevertheless, as each such sibling went before him, he became the honorary parent of his nephews and nieces and the honorary grandparent of their children.
He did not inject himself forcefully into this role. He quietly adopted it over time. No one objected. Each was grateful.
As he did with his own daughter, son-in-law and grandson, whom he loved with all his heart, he spread his love and affection to all of the rest as well.
He was interested in their lives, gave plenty of advice (some requested, some not) and encouraged them to grow more, to learn more, to do more, ultimately to be better people.
Everyone appreciated his company. His affability and good humor caused admiration, and his commentary give rise to smirks and sometimes belly laughs.
In consequence, this progeny grew, learned, and did more. And we are all the better for it.
There is no medal or award to be given. But all wear the smiles of remembrance and quietly say thank you.
Even as we mourn the loss.
Well done, Uncle Teddy.