Memorial Photo Albums | Gortner.com
I haven't updated the main page in quite some time. This is partly because I was out of town for parts of September and October. But the main reason is that I knew I would have to put the events of October 31st and November 1st into words (since I usually give short updates on my life).
Michael R. Fox, my mother's brother, passed away at 3 a.m. on November 1st. He was diagnosed with cancer in February when tumors were found in his lung and brain. He had been having trouble walking and he went into one of his doctor appointments thinking all he needed was some surgery to fix some pinched nerves. He was told by the doctor that he wouldn't survive long without surgery but he decided against it, favoring a higher quality of life for his final months. Shortly thereafter he moved from Washington, D.C. to my parents' house in Canastota.
The brain tumor impeded motor function in his right leg and arm but he was still able to get around on his own by using this red scooter. I can still hear the motor humming and sound of him running into things. As time went on, he did get weaker and he moved into a full-time care facility in Clinton in early October. I had moved back into the house in August and I had really enjoyed being around my uncle all the time and I was heartbroken when he left the house.
On the morning of October 31, my mom and I rushed out to Clinton because Uncle Mike said he was having problems breathing. But when we arrived, he said he was alright and that he didn't mean to scare us. So, we came home. Later in the day we got a phone call from the facility because he was having severe breathing problems and we went back to Clinton. He didn't want to go to a hospital because he knew it was the end. Late that night my mom told my me and my brother that we should say goodbye. I can't begin to describe how painful this was. I would have not made it through that night if Pearl wasn't there with me. I eventually went home and my dad called at 3 a.m. to tell me that Uncle Mike passed on.
My uncle was my mom's best friend and he was like a father to me. He taught me how to ride a bike and he inspired me to do well in school. Through him I was exposed to a world (D.C.) that most people in Stota never see. I would not be the man I am today without him. I am extremely proud of his accomplishments. He dedicated his life to the education of adults. Please read his obituary in the Washington Post.
I don't think there is anything worse in life than watching someone you love die. I never even considered the possibility that Uncle Mike wouldn't be around for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not for one second. It's extremely hard to wrap your mind around the idea that he won't and can't possibly get better. It's not like a broken leg or the flu or something like that where you can get better and you expect to get better. I kept hoping I would wake up one day and he would be up and walking around, but miracles like that just aren't possible. Instead I sat in his room on Halloween knowing that he could take his last breath at any moment.
I loved my uncle very much and I miss him terribly. I hope that someday the work that I do will touch as many lives as his work did.
Before he died, my uncle set up a fund in his name called the Mike Fox GED Fund. It's purpose is to provide funds for the GED for underpriviledged adults. It's a good cause and if you wish to donate, let me know. I'll post details when I get them and I may even host the webpage on my site.