My Uncle Jim Long. He died of melanoma cancer on May 22, 1964

I have always stated "that I have the easy part of being a cancer patient." And I continue to hold on to that mindset. It is my loved ones and friends who have the most difficult part of watching me go through this.

In an Old Catholic Missal dated 1957, I found short journal entries penned by my mother about her brother and my uncle, Jim Long. The following are the last few moments of his life: 

Feb 10, 1964: He looks sad in this month. Pale and thin. I wish I could remember him as a child for I fear he will be taken away from us soon. And my wonderful God, it is your will to take him - please let him understand why.

Feb 21, 1964: Jim stopped in. He just returned from Florida. The family knows the tumor has returned to his only lung. Dear God - guide us. Jim talked of going to California. I hope he gets the chance.

Feb 24, 1964: Jim's blood is infected with this disease. Dear God, tonight, Jim told me of the lumps forming on him.

May 4, 1964: My husband and I picked Jim up at the Cleveland Airport. He flew in from Denver. Dad, mom and he went there to see if the clinic could help him. There is no chance. His weight is 128 pounds. Dear God, please help him.

May 5, 1964: Dad told us Jim only has 2-3 months to live, if that long. His mental attitude is bad (thru it all he never gave in to death until now). I love him so much and there is nothing I can do or anyone.

May 21, 1964: Jim is failing. He was admitted to the Crestline Hospital, in Crestline, Ohio. He said he is tired and wants to die. He doesn't want to suffer anymore. Please God, let him understand why this happened to him. He was admitted at 10:00 a.m. I don't know what keeps him going. I didn't realize his time was so short. Dear God, I wish we didn't have to see him suffer. He wants me to start taking Terri to church. Dr. Brooks said he doesn't know how Jim is still alive. Please dear God, be kind to him...don't let him suffer. Dear God, no more lonely nights for Jim, let him go to sleep and wake up with you, please dear God. His breathing is terrible.

May 22, 1964: Jim died at 6:35 a.m. Thank you God that his agony is over. Love him and have mercy on him. He went peacefully. I kissed him 3 times after his death. He looked peaceful and relaxed. 

In 1964, just two years before I was born, my uncle, Jim Long, died of melanoma cancer. Obviously, the timing of my birth prevented me from ever getting to know Jim. Although, today I am gaining a new appreciation for him for what binds us together - the same sickness, a passion for community service, and especially the love for our Lord.

He died of melanoma cancer. He was first diagnosed with a tumor near his elbow. Eventually, the cancer spread throughout his body by way of his arteries.

At his funeral the church was filled with family, friends and loved ones. One can safely surmise that he was well known and respected in the community.

Not only do we share the same sickness of having cancer and being community active, we both share the love from our Lord, Jesus Christ.

I never met my Uncle Jim, but obviously God allowed me to get to know him through similar passions and circumstances.

Rest in peace, dear Uncle.



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