We just got the news that my great uncle Carter, who has been dying for some time, passed away during the night. (He is one of the two, Sara, for whom I missed the snowed-out party last Christmastime.) I don't know yet how his family is handling this, though I am sure that they aren't having an easy time. I am most concerned for his wife, Kay, who has also been battling cancer for some time and has had such a tenuous hold that, unbeknownst to us, her family wasn't sure she'd even make it to the Christmas party last season, much less the new year. Evidently she sat down with TC and Mary, her son and daughter, and laid out every single detail--right down to the specific foods and locations of hidden Christmas presents--because she was so completely determined that the party would happen whether she was there for it or not.
I am also really feeling for my father. He has, as he just told me over the phone, wanted to see Carter for months--but Carter didn't want any visitors. He's always been an extremely quiet man (I think I told a story here once about a four-sentence conversation between him and his brother, my grandfather, which lasted two days), and private, and I think he didn't want anyone to see him in such a poor condition. My father (as he admits, uncharacteristically) honored his wishes and I think is trying very hard not to regret that decision. He cared very much for Carter.
So: not unexpected, but as always, very sad. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers.