The death of a hero

    We buried one of my heroes on Friday. She was my mother-in-law.

    In the case of Helen Boyle, hero might be a form of understatement. Rather than begin with gushing words and bloated adjectives, permit me to recite just a few facts about her 85 years on this earth.

    She lost her father at age 5, and learned of his death from a kid on the street while she was walking home. He looked at her and said, in that mean and matter-of-fact way that kids can muster, "Your father's dead." Helen was shocked and didn't know what to say, so she snapped back, "I know," even though she didn't.

    When she was 38, she gave birth to twins, Neil and Sharon, who died within days of being born. From here, I will let her son Kevin pick up the story.

    "The pain that must've meant for my mother must've been extreme, but she had little time to grieve. More was waiting for her. Just a few weeks later my father went in for an operation for what they thought was an ulcer.

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