I lost someone special to me this weekend. I don’t usually blog about these things, and in fact, others have passed away and I haven’t mentioned them on here, but it seems trite to do a Miscellaneous Monday post today and ignore the one thing most present in my mind right now. So bear with me as I use the blog for a little personal therapy today.
Yesterday morning, my Uncle Tom passed away. He wasn’t just my Uncle, he was also my Godfather. Not in the way that one is a godparent listed on a long-forgotten piece of paper, but in the way that he was a special presence in my life. I spent half of my childhood growing up across the street from him and my aunt. He took his role in my life seriously (something he did with everyone), and he was another father figure to me, a mentor, a friend, and most of all, an example.
He raised two children that weren’t technically his own (step-children), though you would have never known that unless someone told you. He served our country as a soldier, and as a sheriff. He fought for good and right everyday and had an unwavering ethical compass. He advised me on my life, checked in on me, made sure I knew he cared. He was fun and full of energy. He played Santa Claus when we were kids. He helped me with my math homework. He protected me from the bad guys. He taught me to never take myself too seriously. He loved his family, adored his wife, cared for his parents. He was stubborn and bull-headed. He had super-sonic hearing and you couldn’t get anything past him. He had an amazing wit, and a biting sense of humor.
Seven years ago, he had a stroke. It stole from him his ability to move around, to talk normally, to be who he had been. And yet his spirit persisted. Through all that followed, the strokes, the illnesses, the set-backs, he fought on and showed us all that life was more than the external. Somehow, in a state where he was dependent on others for nearly everything, he persisted in demonstrating how to live life in service and care for others.
He was excited about baby girl, and I’m heartbroken he won’t get to meet her. And more so, that she won’t know him.
I know that in time my appreciation for him and his presence will deepen, and life will move on. And he would want that. But for now, there is just a hole where he should be.