Daddy was 12 and his brother Paul was 14 when Paul was killed on Christmas Day in New Orleans. They were playing with new roller skates out in the street and Paul was run over (by a drunk driver?) while his younger brother Silas watched the whole thing happen. Six years later this sister drowned while trying to rescue her husband who also drowned. So the third born child became "Big Brother" to his two younger siblings, Margaret, who is Skip's mom, and Charles.
Is there any wonder that Dad suffered from regular bouts of depression? He had an unusual amount of sadness and grief in his life before I came along. His father abandoned their family during the depression, then his parents divorced. His first wife Amy died of pneumonia. Then during WWII he was a Protestant Chaplain assigned to a medical unit in England and France. One of his duties was to sit by the bedside of wounded and dying soldiers, writing the letters they dictated to their loved ones back home. He also had to read to some of them the letters they received. I've heard him tell how a "Dear John" letter could take away a man's will to live, knowing the sweetheart back home was no longer waiting for his return.
All these things helped to make him the deeply compassionate person he was. He loved and cared for all. And he's still loving and caring for all, but now he isn't bothered with the immobilizing blue moods he used to have. Don't you know that was one happy family reunion in heaven?