Last night, while waiting for Colleen and Chris to come home, I had a call from my other sister, Lisa. Not completely out of the ordinary. She may be calling to invite us to the casino or to see if she can come over to see the baby. Either way, I wasn’t alarmed.
We chatted for a minute or two, and then she said something that I still haven’t really processed. Uncle Bob died. Wait. What? That was by far the last thing that I ever thought would cross her lips.
Lisa explained that Bob was chopping ice outside, came inside and sat down. Marlene was speaking to him, and all of a sudden, he stopped responding. When she went over to check on him, he was dead in the chair.
Uncle Bob was almost a perfect replica of my father, except for a slightly crooked nose and haircut. I remember just staring at him in awe of how much he looked and acted like my father. We know that he was absolutely not my father, but as a child who missed her father with every inch of her being, it was very calming to see his face.
The thing that I loved most about him is that he never forgot anything. He remembered everyone’s birthdays and sent cards accordingly, and usually with $20 inside. And when I became of age to be married, my cards continued, but the money stopped, but after Jack was born, the cards with money started to come again. It wasn’t just about cards and money. He remembered dates, details, everything.
Apart from being my father’s only brother, he took a serious role in checking in on us and taking us out to dinner after my father died. To us at ages 9 (me) to 4 (Kate), he was one of the coolest guys on the planet. He and his wife Marlene would come down, let us choose the dinner destination and he would pay. We were allowed to order anything that we wanted from the menu and no meal was crazy enough.
A few years after that, my Aunt Marlene came down with MS. Wheel chair bound and not able to do much for herself, my heart aches to think of where she will have to go now that Bob is gone. I am hoping that one of their sons will take her in. I would hate to see her in a nursing home.
On our wedding day, he was there in the Church with Marlene and was honored that we asked him and my other Uncles to carry the gifts up to the altar. They came for the rehearsal just to make sure that everything was picture perfect on the big day. My heart skipped a beat while watching my three Uncles carry the bread, water and wine down the aisle.
Just a few weeks ago, I composed a thank you card to my Uncle Bob and Aunt Marlene on Jack’s behalf for the birthday and Christmas money. I explained that once the snow melted and the ice was gone, that I would love to bring Jack up to their house for a long visit. After these almost 60 degree days, I was honestly thinking that this coming week would be a fabulous time to come and visit with them. I am heartbroken that we will not be able to visit with the two of them.
To be honest, I don’t think that it has truly hit me yet. I had to break the news to my mother and to my sisters, and they were all in shock and absolutely cried on the spot. My tears haven’t come yet. My brain is still slowly processing this loss.
I will absolutely miss the warmness of his smile, the resemblance to my father, and all of the funny jokes that he told. I will miss his big heart which always had love for everyone.