This has been an emotionally charged month for me. As of now I am ready to tap out in the emotional department. As this month comes to an end and I try to turn back to more upbeat subjects, there is one more emotionally charged post I must get out of my system. Today would be my Uncle’s bday. And all though I do not get all into the birthday spirit and go all out for these occasions, I do like to acknowledge life or reflect on ones that have passed.
My Uncle was the coolest. His swag was 100! He was the life of the party. He loved to dance, he loved to sing, he loved talkin, and he loved life! He would talk to anyone. He could make friends anywhere. A couple of my friends were fortunate enough to meet him and they still bring him up to this day. My memories of Uncle are very special to me. My Dad worked crazy hours and sometimes would need to sleep during the day, so my Mom would take us to my Auntie and Uncle’s so we could make noise and run around the backyard. As soon as we would ring that door bell, Auntie and Uncle would be there to greet us with hugs and kisses. My Uncle would say, “Give me a hug…squeeze me tight…tight enough to make me poot!” LOL!! We would try to hug him so tight! When I was a toddler, I remember he had the biggest muscles and I would hang on his arm and he would lift his arm up and down like he was lifting weights….and no matter how many times I would tell him “again, again” he would do it. He fought in Vietnam and he would tell me stories about being there and his experiences, my eyes would be wide with fascination because he shot guns and he saw people die and although he said it was something he wish he did not have to experience he said, ‘when you are in that situation you had to do what you had to do to survive.’ It seemed there was nothing he could not do. He was our Superman.
He was always there cheering my cousins and me on in every one of our life accomplishments. He knew when to be stern and he knew when to show us compassion. I even feel he knew when one of us may have needed some extra attention and he would give us personal time with him just to talk and to let us know that even though there was a bunch of us, he was still there for us indivdually. Looking back, my Uncle helped instill values that I have now. Do not get me wrong, it was a family affair but you learn different values from different people in your life and I am appreciative of the ones I learned from him in our time together. He would wear this gold necklace with a charm that was a #1. I often remember sitting on his lap when I was little and playing with it while he watched football. I would run the charm back and forth on the chain. I would ask him, “Why do you wear this charm all the time?” He would say, “Your Auntie gave me this charm and I wear it because I am her #1″….and he was until the day he passed.
In the end, we learned our Superman’s kryptonite was Cancer. When I was told this I was like “ok, surgery, chemo, remission. …he’s got this.” Then I learned it was terminal…..I have never known anyone this close to me and this involved in my life that I was going to have watch die knowing it would be soon. I would go visit him every time I was in town. Every time I saw him he looked good. But then he started getting skinnier and skinnier and next thing he was in a bed not able to get out without help. The very last time I asked to see Uncle, my Aunt told me it was probably better that I didn’t but I had my Dad to take me over there anyway. The last time I saw Uncle, he was being lifted up with the help of my Auntie. He was unrecognizable to me. I remember my Dad shaking his hand and asking how he was. All he could say was, “I’m sick, I’m sick.” Those words play over and over in my mind and haunt me up until this day. I remember rambling something to him and running out the room and into the arms of my Auntie. As my Auntie held me she said, “I told you you should have not come to see him.” At the time all I could think of is how rude that comment was!! But since that day, when I think of Uncle, that is the very first image that pops into my head. Not my strong, mighty Superman but this frail, helpless human and now I understand why she said it. She was trying to protect me. I found out Uncle had cancer in Dec 2008. He passed away April 2009. This year will be three years since he lost his battle and to this day, it is hard because I feel he should still be here. When I go to visit my Auntie, I always feel as if he should be coming out to greet us at any moment. Or if we have get-togethers and the door bell rings, I expect to hear his loud upbeat voice instantly cracking a joke on my Dad as he would always do…LOL. It is still hard to listen to certain songs he use to sing because all I hear is his voice. I still miss him….a lot.
I have to say, everyone has their memories and thoughts about Uncle. But these are my memories and my personal thoughts about him and I hold them dear.
When he passed, there was one thing I asked my Auntie if it would be okay for me to have. That #1 charm. She told me she had no clue where it was. Well one day, during one of our family get-togethers, she pulled me aside. Guess what she had for me??? You guessed it, Uncle’s Charm! I cannot even put into words the emotions that came over me. I hope she always knows how grateful I am. Its crazy how something so small can have such emotional and comforting power and I will cherish it forever.