My life would not be what it is if not for my family and friends, so it was with great sadness to learn a few weeks ago of the passing of my great-uncle, Francis Winheld. Tonight, I attended a memorial service commemorating his life. Gregarious and full of life, my uncle cared about the important things -- his family and friends, his faith and his community. He also knew how to cook a tasty pot of mussels, a fond childhood memory of mine from summers spent at the Jersey Shore.
Having dealt with various health issues, he gave back by visiting hospital patients going through similar ordeals, including yours truly. I guess you might even say that my uncle and I were cardiac buddies! When I had my defibrillator implanted three years ago, I didn't know anyone else with one -- except for my uncle. Not long after the surgery, he hopped a plane from California and was with me as I celebrated my 27th birthday.
Just a few months ago, he surprised me at my book signing. Above is a picture from that day of my uncle, my aunt, and me. That was the last time I ever saw my uncle. If he had not made the trip I would not have had the opportunity to see him. Amazing how life works.