Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Uncle T... Lost but not Forgotten

I find that as of late I have become much closer to extended family then I ever have been. For this, I am thankful. I truly do have a wonderful collection of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. A few weeks ago I was speaking to my Uncle Dave on the phone. It was the first time we had talked in ages.We reminisced about the old days and caught up with all of the goings on of current day.

Midway through our conversation he asked how I felt about my Uncle Terry. I did not understand what he meant by this statement so I inquired. Uncle T had fallen ill with a terminal stage of cancer. It was as though my world stopped. It was one of those ever familiar slow motion moments that sink your stomach so low it temporarily blinds you.

The sequence of events that followed the conclusion of that phone call were riddled with emotions. After taking a few moments to collect myself, and regain reason I placed a call to my Uncle T. My Aunt Gloria picked up, and was pleased to learn that it was me calling. Her and I reconnected like we had not skipped a beat. She was the same loving, devoted person that I so fondly remember from childhood. She lowered the phone to pass it to my uncle and I heard her excited tone on the other end; "Terry, it's Malina! It's Malina!"

At this I lost it. The excitement that exuded from her voice was only a confirmation that Uncle T still held me in the same high regard he always had despite the fact that we had not spoken in a year. I did my best to choke back the tears that of course were cascading down my face.

"Hello my girl..." came the weakened yet still somehow upbeat voice on the other end of the phone. We too spoke just as no time had passed between our last rendezvous. When I disconnected the phone I was relieved in a sense. I felt as though he sounded strong and I knew in my heart of hearts that he had plenty of time left.

Over the next couple of weeks, I did what I did best and rekindled my love for hand-written letters. I made the time between homework, classes, and volunteering to spill my thoughts on paper and send them away to the big-hearted man who was laid up in New Hampshire. Years ago my Uncle and I wrote letters back and fourth for a long time. He had previously always appreciated my letters, and always wrote so poetically back to me. Though I knew that his strength was waning, and he would be unable to write back; I still wrote. Monday's were my favorite day to write.

Yesterday (Monday) I completed my volunteer shift at the hospital and then attended my afternoon class. I next spoke with my sister which filled me with such positivity. I made a mental note that today is Monday, and I wanted to write to Uncle T before the day was out.

Justin and I started to watch a ridiculous cheese ball horror film. I made fun of it in every way that I could as I often do with terrible horror films because that is what they are there for. I saw an email flash across my screen so I opened it with the faintest trace of a smile still plastered on my lips...

I dropped my phone and covered my eyes as tears burned beneath their lids. The familiar sinking feeling was more intense than it has been in a long time. I was wrong when I assumed that Uncle T had a lot of time left.

I sat there for several moments before Justin realized that something was amiss. I felt him lean over and read the message that was still displayed across my screen like some kind of reminder to pick up something at the grocery store. He reached over and grabbed me as we sat there for some time with the sound effects of the B rated horror film filling the darkness that I was immersed in.

Dear Reader; I know that there is no easy way to deliver the news that a loved one has passed. I also know that it was easy for me to displace my anger towards the fashion that this news was delivered to me. It was tough to set aside the hostility that I felt towards the person who chose to be so crass with their method of communication. I had to do what was right though; despite my anguish and pain. I reached out and called the person to ensure that they were okay. Worry not my readership, the other party was not too broken up, and they had finished eating dinner too.

The bottom line is that a great man was lost... and nothing can bring him back. As much as I would like to pretend that there are things that can. I know that he joined his mother, my late grandmother, on the other side. I know that he is finally at peace after fighting so hard for the past few months. I know that he will always live on in the thoughts and memories of those who were closest to him. And those thoughts and those memories can never be taken from us.

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