Family Loss

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On Saturday our family had the annual family reunion. Husband and I could not attend as we had visited Ohio earlier in the month. Our cousin was in charge and she always does a great job.

The day was a beautiful day and my mother in law and sister in law had gone up to attend. My mother in law and her remaining sister are the matriarchs of the family that are still here with us. The others have all passed away. So, they were attending.

My husband and I spent the day at Fort Boonesboro in Winchester, Kentucky. It was the festival commemorating the siege at the fort with reenactments. It was a lot of fun! One of my husbands ancestors was in the fort at the time of the siege.

We had a wonderful day and when we got home my phone went off with a message. It was my sister in law telling us that my cousin, who was the one who organized the reunion, well, her husband had unexpectedly and suddenly passed away. He was 55 and recently retired from a life of service as a fireman. He was the captain of the fire department. He had been unwell so he stayed home and my cousin was at the reunion. She received a phone call telling her that the ambulance had been dispatched to her home. She left immediately. You see, the ambulance is part of the fire department on our hometown so they knew him well.

It seems that she got to the hospital and he was talking and such, then took a turn. We were told they did cpr for almost two hours on him. You see, the staff at the hospital all knew him from ambulance runs he has done while a fireman/emt. He was one of their own.The family reunion, in the meantime, was shut down and everyone went to the hospital.

After he was pronounced dead, the funeral home was called. However, they did not come get him because the whole area had heard already and the ambulance from our hometown arrived and they transported him to the funeral home. In a caravan of fire trucks, police cars and all, he was transported to the funeral home while other fire trucks were along the way with their ladders out and saluting the caravan. Traffic was stopped. It was an amazing sight.

If he had not been gone, he would have loved it all! This cousin lived his dream, he always wanted to be a fireman and he had given his career to being the best one he could be! The only reason he retired was he had gone into kidney failure and had to have dialysis. Otherwise, he would have still been working. He had proudly served his hometown for over 25 years and was a fine example of a truly wonderful civil servant.

He was laid to rest today. They carried his coffin in a fire truck to the service. The most poignant thing about the whole service was when the fire department presented colors and the dispatcher called roll call and called for Captain Abston. Three times. Then stated he was not responding and end of his watch. I cried like a baby. There were other times just as meaningful but the end of watch, given live, is a reality and it really touches my heart.

These people take an oath to protect and serve their communities. They are a special breed and I am in awe of all they do. I certainly am a better person having known Tony, and know how very much he loved his family. He will certainly be missed by his town, his colleagues and more importantly, his family. Until the resurrection occurs, when I will see you again cousin, I say rest in peace.

 

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