The day after Easter Sunday, my Aunty Irene and Uncle Terry left our house to return to Delaware. Saying goodbye, of course, is never easy, but our family always creates reasons to get together. In May they would most likely be coming back up to our house for Mother's Day, and in July, we would be coming to their house for our annual summer get together--complete with pool party and "camping" out in their motorhome.
Unfortunately, life for our family would change forever when my Uncle Terry fell asleep in his lounge chair Monday night never to wake up... I received the call early Tuesday morning and cried and cried and cried. I know he is in a better place and that he'll be watching over us, but I can't stop thinking about the huge loss it is for our little family.
He was like a father figure to me after my own father died in 2007, and he was like a grandpa to my little boy who now has no male figure to emulate on my side. There will be no more of him helping my son get back up on his bike, watching him play trains, bringing him to the Delaware rail yard, or the countless other memories that my son Lewie has of his "Uncle Terry." Of course, my aunt, too, is devastated, and life will change for her the most. She will most likely sell their house and motorhome and downsize...
|My beloved aunt and uncle a year ago at my cousin's wedding.|
|My beloved Uncle Terry|
In memory of my uncle, here are 100 words that capture his true spirit...
NASCAR, wine, motorhome, pool, coy pond, mowing, tractor, farm, Mason, police officer, Lieutenant, dispatcher, Constable, gardening, camping, Corvette, country, home improvement, friend, husband, son, brother, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, step-father, helper, work ethic, compassion, politics, uniform, solitude, opinion, current events, jokes, laughter, boat, fishing, dreamer, soft-hearted, teddy bear, tall, stately, health-conscious, coffee, steak, grill, family, community, church, God, contemplative, hope, love, commitment, horses, barrel racing, cowboy hat, History Channel, Westerns, police car, routine, even keeled, relaxed, Dover Downs, car rides, trains, tinker, adventurer, protect, eye-rolling, smirk, happy-go-lucky, twinkle, resourceful, woods, nature, benevolent, spirited, county fairs, courthouse, old school, loyalty, trust.
While he was visiting on Easter weekend, he made a few comments to me that are so telling of his sense of humor.
After watching my aunt pick up the phone to talk to a family member (for the third time on the same evening), he rolled his eyes and said, "She's always on the damn phone. Yeah, she talks to everybody on there except I can't get her to talk to me." (laughter)
On another day last weekend, my husband and I were running around the yard chasing kids at a birthday party. My uncle sat out on the porch and said to one of the kids, "You're a spring chicken, and that old hen (meaning me) is giving you a run for your money." (So bluntly said, but so true. As usual, I couldn't help but laugh.)
* * *
Not even three days after my uncle's death, my sister-in-law, Missy, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Lily. (She was 10lbs., 14 ounces!) We went to see the baby on Thursday night and Lewie had many questions (questions that I was unprepared to answer). "Where does the baby come out?" "Why does she have that thing attached to her belly button?" etc. etc. I helped Missy put Lily into her "jammies" for the first time and reminisced about the days when Lewie was that small. Where did the time go?
|Lewie, Lily, and me|
|Our sweet, precious Lily|
|How can you resist little baby feet?|
|Lily, Aunty Missy, Me, and Lewie|
Time is an interesting thing. A wise friend once told me after giving birth to my son, "The days are long, but the years are short." I understood the meaning, but I wasn't able to fully grasp its significance until I, myself, started watching the years slip by--1, 2, 3, 4, 5--and this year Lewie will be 6! The paradox of life is that there are days when we wish our life away (if only these terrible two's would end), and then there are days where we wish we could "freeze" this moment in time for all eternity. Like a river that flows, life is forever moving forward, and yet there are days that I wish I could jump out or swim upstream... I don't want my Uncle Terry to be gone. I don't want my son to turn six this year...and yet, I must move with the current. We must all move with the current...
RIP Uncle Terry. You will be sorely missed...
Until we meet again.
Welcome Lily! We are so lucky to have you be part of our family. May we be reminded everyday by your sweet smile, that life is not to be taken for granted...