Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Coping with the death of my beloved uncle.
Sad news in my world. A beloved uncle died yesterday, at the age of 75. He had a heart attack and subsequent brain aneurism. Oronzo, Snuggle Bug, and I will be attending his funeral mass on Monday morning.

Let me tell you a bit about this uncle, if you don't mind. Writing about him helps me process my grief. He was born on April 29, 1931 in a Midwestern city. He was the fourth of 13 children. He was one of my mother's older brothers.

My uncle married and had 4 children and several grandchildren. He worked hard all of his life, providing for his family, and made a point to be involved with his mother and his siblings throughout the years. Eventually my uncle moved away from the Midwest and we only saw him occasionally at family holidays. Honestly I lost touch with him, until about 12 years ago, only hearing about him through my mom and Grandma G.

12 years ago, our college football team was playing in a bowl game in the city that he and his family had moved to. I called him up out of the blue, reminded him that I was his niece, and asked if we could come stay with him for a week to attend the bowl game (yes, I was bold, even back then). He quickly encouraged me to come and stay with them!

When we arrived (5 of us total), my aunt and uncle opened their home to us, even giving us a spare key to come and go as we pleased. They were just as excited as we were about the bowl game and threw themselves into the festivities. They made our visit a fun one and I was able to reconnect with them at a whole new level, as an adult rather than a child. I discovered that they were truly kind and loving people.

A year later, I unexpectedly moved out of state to a city only 2 hours from them (where I live now) for a job. I knew absolutely no one in the city that I moved to and this was the first time I'd ever moved away from my family. I was excited and yet terrified and terribly homesick. The only thing that comforted me is that my aunt and uncle were at least driving distance and I was thankful that I knew them better because of our stay with them the previous year.

My first year out of state, my uncle and aunt made a point to invite me to all of their family gatherings so that I wouldn't have to spend any holidays alone. I went to several of them. When Oronzo and I started dating, they invited us to drive up for dinner, so they could meet him, and they gave me their approval. It meant a lot. Occasionally I'd go spend a quick weekend with my uncle and aunt and always had such a good time with them. They were so warm, giving, and laid back.

Last June, when Snuggle Bug was 6 months old, they came to visit us and met him for the first time. I took a picture of the three of them and I'm so glad that I did, it's the last picture of my uncle that I now have. I kept meaning to take Snuggle Bug and go visit them again as they encouraged me to do, and just never got around to it. I regret not making the time.

I'm going to miss my uncle. He was instrumental in reaffirming to me the importance of family. He lead a life to be proud of. He had 54 years of marriage with his wife and they were able to enjoy retirement and a good life with their family.

God be with you, dear uncle.
10:59 AM
20 comments


20 Comments:
At 11:51 AM, Anonymous sheri said...

OW, my heart goes out to you. I kow how much you miss him and will miss him. It is good that you have such good memories of him.

 
At 12:16 PM, Blogger PEA said...

It's always hard to lose a beloved family member...my thoughts and prayers are with you. You have some wonderful memories of him and you have the comfort of knowing he had a happy life.

 
At 12:56 PM, Blogger Trish said...

I am so sorry for your loss! HUGS!! Sounds like a wonderful man!

 
At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Stephanie said...

I am so sorry for you loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Peace.

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear uncle...my deepest condolences go out to you and your extended family during this most difficult time.

I know that will be a photo for you to treasure. It's hard to believe he was in his 70s when that photo was taken. He looks much younger than that.

How wonderful that he had 54 great years with his wife too.

 
At 3:00 PM, Blogger Erin said...

Sounds like he was a wonderful man. Hugs for you and your family. What a lovely picture of them with Snuggle Bug too :)

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger momteacherfriend said...

Much love! Thanks for sharing your memories.

 
At 5:32 PM, Blogger Sue said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I just returned this afternoon from the funeral of our dearest friend's Mom. Goodbyes are just so hard...
May your memories give you comfort at this sad time.

 
At 5:38 PM, Blogger Catch said...

I am so sorry OW. he sounds like a very special uncle. Just be glad you had him in your life.

 
At 5:56 PM, Blogger cmhl said...

I'm so sorry!!!!!!! He really sounded like a neat person.

 
At 8:51 PM, Anonymous chelle said...

aww thanks for sharing your story and hopefully processing your grief, it is always so hard to say good bye! hugs

 
At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Amber said...

I am sorry about your uncle. He sounds like an amazing and loving man. That is great that you have that picture of him and Snuggle Bug; I am sure that will mean a lot now and in the future.

 
At 10:37 PM, Anonymous mayasmom said...

So sorry to hear about your Uncle, it's so sad to lose family.

Wonderful though, that you were able to reconnect as an adult, and have a whole new relationship with him. And, he got to meet and know your boys, and see you well-launched into your life with them. I'm glad for that!

He sounded like a genuinely good man.

 
At 11:01 PM, Blogger wolfbaby said...

He sounds like a wonderful man and I am sorry for your familys lose.

 
At 11:36 PM, Blogger MugwumpMom said...

So sorry for your loss. This was a lovely tribute to him and I pray you'll be strengthened and filled with peace.

 
At 4:28 AM, Blogger Annette said...

so sorry to hear about your uncle passing. My prayers are with you and yours.

 
At 5:25 AM, Blogger kpjara said...

Prayers for you in this incredible loss.

Thank you for sharing what seems a loving, incredible, Man of God.

It's nice that you were able to reconnect and to have such wonderful memories of your Uncle!

 
At 10:02 AM, Blogger susan said...

He sounds like a wonderful uncle and person. I'm sorry for your sudden loss.

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger Karla said...

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your uncle. He sounds like a very kind man. Thanks for sharing your memories of him.
And what a great picture. He reminds of the older man that played on "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman". I have always liked that the characters (what few I've seen) that man played. They are always very gentle and kind characters. So that's a good person to be reminded of. =)

 
At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Sylvie said...

So Sorry to hear of your loss.

 

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