I found out last night (on my birthday, no less) that my uncle died suddenly while at work. I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and saw a post from one of my cousins about it and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was hoping she had another uncle with the same name and wasn’t referring to our uncle, our mothers’ only brother. It didn’t help that there weren’t very many details on her posts and I couldn’t get a hold of my mom. I wasn’t about to call my grandma. There was no way I could handle that call.
I can’t explain this feeling of heaviness in the pit of my stomach.
I have been immensely blessed my entire life to not be so close to death. Sure, relatives and friends have passed away in my lifetime, but none so close as this. My grandfather died when I was 9. I remember it, but since they lived in Minnesota and us in Arizona we weren’t as close as my Arizona grandparents. Other great-aunts and -uncles have passed away — some recently, unfortunately — but it didn’t hurt as much at those times.
The girls and I will be flying back to the States for the funeral and to spend time with my family. I’m not sure how multiple flights — 2 trans-Atlantic ones — alone with 2 small children will go, but I’ll make it work. I’ll figure it out. It has to work. I believe there will be wonderful, helpful people on all the flights eager to lend a hand to me, a young, frazzled, solo-traveling parent of 2 kids 2 and under.
I do find respite in the fact that my uncle was a believer. He is no longer dealing with the painful effects of Lyme disease. He is in paradise with his earthly father and heavenly father. And we are the ones suffering, the ones left here on Earth.
My uncle was a funny man. He loved kids. I’m so immensely happy I made the effort to go back to my mom’s hometown for Thanksgiving last year. I got to see him one last time. He got to meet Little E. I will never forget how he looked at my two girls. Rest in peace, Uncle. May we living ones left find a way to move on with life without you. It will never be the same.