Uncle Andy

Monday I celebrated the life of a good man, my Uncle Andy. Although the celebration included a lot of tears and tissues, I’m happy that we had things to celebrate. I’m hopeful and left feeling a bit lighter and more connected to my family.

His health hadn’t been great over the last few months but I would say that his passing still came as a shock to all of us. We never really expect our loved ones to go away. At least I don’t. I feel that I’m lucky, though, because I know I will see him again, in his changed healthy body, whole and joyful and celebrating.

Celebrations of Life often include memory sharing. Monday I walked away with several new stories of the man I called Uncle. I’ll include a few.

When he was little and my mom was still an interesting creature called Baby Sister, they both had stuffed animals with music boxes inside. Andy had a bear and Mom had a lamb. When Mom’s music box died, Uncle Andy cut his bear open, removed the music box and stuffed it into Mom’s lamb, so she wouldn’t have to do without. And when they were older, we would visit him at his lake house. He often stopped on his way out there to buy a cheeseburger. Mom always wanted a bite but would wait until he got to the middle so she could have the bite with the pickle. He always let her have it. Always the sacrifice, always the love. That’s the kind of man he was.

Once, when I was between cars, he let me borrow an old Ford pick-up truck for a summer. He drove over in that rust bucket and I nearly died. But it was transportation and it was free so I thanked him and drove that visual disaster for several months. God forbid my purse fall into the floorboard (and I use the term floorboard loosely) because the strips of rust that still clung to the area beneath my feet weren’t strong enough to hold a gnat, much less my giant handbag. In an effort to make it more visually appealing, my sister and boyfriend and I used model car paints to decorate it with peace signs and happy faces and hearts. By the time we got it looking like we wanted, Uncle Andy had sold it, sight unseen, to a man who cared not that it looked like a hippie mobile and only cared that it ran well. His reputation as a mechanic was outstanding.

He had five children and a beloved, and listening to each of them talk about what he meant to them gave me such a sense of who he was, outside of my own view. He was dedicated. He loved. He accepted. He was a family man. He was a friend. He got his kids through some rough times. He fixed things for them. He met every need that his family had. And he did it with spirit and laughter and love.

Ah, I’m going to make myself cry again. I don’t want to do that.

I miss my Uncle Andy. I have for a while, because life gets in the way. We let so many things take precedence over things that used to be important. I won’t do that anymore.

I miss Zeke. I miss Reid. I miss Adam and Kevin and Tammy. I miss Boo and Vaughan. I miss the happy times as kids when we were getting to know each other, fighting and hitting and learning and laughing. Now that we are older, maybe we can recapture a bit of that youth and include the people that we have since added to our family. We have vowed to spend more time together and to make better efforts. I plan on worrying the mess out of everyone until we do that.

Yes, I miss my family but they are still here. Uncle Andy is not but we can celebrate him still. We can do that by living the life that he lived – with faith, with hope, and most importantly with love.

Love you, Uncle Andy.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. ty
    May 18, 2011 @ 22:35:54

    you almost made me cry at the part about big brothers and their sacrifices. my big brother is the same way. uncle andy sounds like he had a big heart… *hugs*


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