Yesterday, the world lost my uncle.
My family lost my uncle.
My aunt lost her husband, my cousins lost their father, and my cousin's kids lost their grandpa.
He was only a year older than my mom.
I am sure that he got mad, but I don't remember ever seeing it. I also am sure that many of my cousins who are older than me probably did.
He worked on the farm his whole life. First with his father and his brother, and then with his nieces and nephews and his son. The stories my cousins tell of working on the farm, I am surprised anyone made it to adulthood. I am sure they are not exaggerated at all.
When I met Workaholic, I decided to bring him to a family wedding after dating a few short months. And my uncle declared himself Morality Patrol since we were all staying in a hotel. It is safe to say that nothing happened that night with MP trolling the hallways. For years after, Workaholic would refer to that uncle as Morality Patrol. (What can I say, I have a big family...it is hard to remember everyone's names.)
Last Christmas, I decided that I wanted to go to Southern Indiana for Christmas Day, just like I did as a kid. I had missed the last few years, since my immediate family celebrates on Christmas Eve, and I would spend Christmas Day with Workaholic's family.
It was a rather uneventful day, chatting it up with family and enjoying some good, home cooked dumplings. What I remember the most (as does Workaholic) is the next morning. My aunt and uncle invited us over for breakfast. What I didn't realize is that of the 27 grandchildren, I was the only one invited.
It was a breakfast for the siblings, my mom and her brothers and sisters. My youngest aunt made sausage and white rice, and scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy. After we ate (and ate and ate) Workaholic turned to me and asked when I was going to learn to cook like that. It was damn good.
Samantha played her usual charming self and Charlie napped while we sat around the table and talked. We talked and talked. They couldn't understand why I would talk about poop on the internet, much less my own constipation during pregnancy. They didn't believe me when I told them that Elvis died of constipation. One of my aunts offered to take out her dentures, and they all asked me what was so gross about your parents having sex. (Really, you have to ask??)
It was a very nice time. I left there thinking, "I really need to get down here more often."
That was the last time I was at my uncle's house when he was alive. I will forever be grateful for them inviting me to that breakfast.
Because now? Now we all have to live with a hole in our lives. It is a very difficult concept for me to grasp, that his family will never see him again. Hug him again. Laugh with him again. His younger grandchildren won't get to really know what a great guy he was. His older grandchildren will miss spending time with him, talking sports and making him proud when they played.
We'll all miss him. We all love him. We are all better people for knowing him.