This phrase has been running through my head nonstop since last Friday when my mom got a call that my Uncle Bob, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in March of this year, was going into hospice care and may not make it through the night.
Family from around the country flew in to be with him in his last hours, and as much as I wanted to pray for miracles, doctors told us to prepare. My uncle fought for his life until the early hours of Tuesday morning.
I spent hours at his bedside Friday through Monday helping my family in any way I could and often unsure of what else I could do or say to make things better, to make things easier. But there was little.
Tears flowed freely each day as his condition worsened, and I hated most to see him lose his spunk. After he passed around 1:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, we were devastated. Just devastated.
It was all I could think about, and all I wanted to get out of my head. Neither my mind, nor my family’s, were in a normal state these past few days. On Monday, my mom told someone to have a great weekend. On Tuesday while shaving my legs in the shower, I just … forgot to shave one. On Wednesday as I tried to work from home, I called into a meeting at 1 p.m. and waited for five minutes while no one else joined until I realized it didn’t start until 2 p.m. And several mornings this week, as my boyfriend left my side just after 6 a.m. to go to work, instead of telling him to have a good day, I told him goodnight.
I considered him my only uncle. Technically, I have others, but he was my favorite and the only one that mattered. In the last several years, he was more of a dad to me than my own.
He lived only fifteen minutes away and always fixed all my things. He taught me how to change a tire, how to jump my bug in case the battery died (which it inevitably did) and he even let me drive his old mustang, his baby, when I graduated from high school.
He always told me the same story of the time he was in Playboy—yes, for a wet T-shirt contest in which he so innocently observed one spring break. He was so proud of that one, he even showed my aunt on their second date (their first was a blind date) and she laughs about how she was shocked they had a third.
We celebrated every Thanksgiving and Christmas together since I was born. We only celebrate holidays with six people, six important people who each play their role in making the holiday special, and now that the group is one less, I cannot imagine how to do it without him.
He was only forty-eight. His birthday is on the fourth of July, just eleven days before mine which makes us both cancers—it’s just a shame his sign had to hint at irony. His birth date was fitting because he was a Navy Seal, a great honor, although he was sometimes too modest to mention it to people.
He loved his family. So much so, he would punch a stranger in the face to defend his kin (and he has). He considered my sister and me like his daughters because he only had sons.
I want him to still be around. I want him to see me get married some day and have children. The thought of him walking me down the aisle even crossed my mind, but I never had the chance to tell him. He would have been so proud.
He loved reading my blog. I mentioned him in a post last Thanksgiving and he thought he was famous.
I made a Twitter post a few days ago that life is often unfair and I truly believe that some things don’t happen for a reason. My aunt believes her and my uncle planned out their entire lives together, but they both agreed cancer wasn’t in the plan. Yet it came, and yet he went.
I will miss him forever. God bless his departed soul.