My Uncle Chris had multiple sclerosis. He died in October of 1995. I know this date because of two reasons, one good, one bad. The good reason I can remember the year is because it was the year in which I decided to make Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. The bad reason I can remember the month is because I had not been to see him since July. It was a horrible realization, when my dad called and told me Chris had died, that I had not been to see him in the state-run nursing home for almost three months. The reasons for this were many and stupid. But mostly, I simply hated going there. Just because I didn't know what to say or how to act.
Chris wasn't just my uncle, he was my favorite. We had a very special relationship for a couple of reasons. Chris had been divorced and lived with my Grandma Lou, as he was in need of some assistance. They lived in the same town as my parents and me. They both worked at the family business with my dad, until Lou retired, and until Chris was unable. So I saw them both frequently. Chris was a gifted musician. I loved to hear him play piano; it literally brought me to tears. Even as he got sicker and made mistakes in his playing, his heart and soul came through so beautifully. I really can't explain it. Maybe this is why I love Murray Perahia's playing so much. It somewhat reminds me of Chris'.
Another reason my uncle Chris was so dear to me is that he introduced me to the Lord. I mean, he never sat me down and prayed the "sinner's prayer" with me. But at a crucial time in my life, when I was 15 or 16, he gave me a New Testament, his New Testament in fact. It had giant print because he couldn't see very well by then. I still have it, of course. I had never had a Bible before. I can remember looking all the way through it trying to find the ten commandments. Of course, they weren't in there; it was only a New Testament and they're in the Old Testament. But anyway, that's how much I knew. Chris did tell me two things to read: the book of John, and 1 Corinthians 13. These are still probably the things I should most be reading.