Once again I was smacked by the reality of this fact when I lost my closest uncle. The man I have looked up to my entire life.
With him goes all of the family stories I grew up with. Sadly, the only other two people to remember have Altzheimers and their memories have been stolen.
He was a writer, and an artist
When I was a younger woman and pregnant with my son, my uncle took us on a tour of historic Philadelphia, telling us all of the stories of the founding of our country.
When my teenage son was rapidly growing taller than his parents, he expressed to me his worry about getting "too tall". At our next visit I took this photo
I didn't have the benefit of living close enough to my uncle to get to see him on a regular basis, so I made the most of the time that I did get to spend with him. And in recent years, we would call and talk by phone. He was a good man. He took care of his family, and he was thoughtful and kind. It worried me that he was at best an agnostic. It takes so little to have faith, and it is a comfort. He asked me why I was a believer the last time I saw him. I understand that he saw raving religious fanatics in his childhood, who didn't understand a happy medium. I know that many of those past family members would stand by the tenant that the only way to God is through believing in Jesus Christ... no exceptions. My uncle may not have believed in God, but I firmly believe that God believed in him. And my God is merciful, and blesses us with endless grace. I have no doubt that my uncle believes now.
I am going to miss him so much. I haven't had parents in many years, and for me, he kind of took their place. Every time one of our elder family passes, you lose a little bit of what was left of your childhood. A person that has known you longer than the family that you made. Someone who remembers things about you that you don't remember yourself.
So it is true and I will end with "Always make sure that you tell the people that you care about how much they mean to you, because tomorrow might never come"