We’ve had such a long few weeks, tomorrow will be the end of it all. Absolutely exhausted, need to go to bed, but am dreading the coming of morning and therefore putting off calling an end to the night.
Starting at the beginning, Kirk and I started dating way back in June 1989 when we were both still in high school. We’ve been together for so long that we don’t have his family and my family, we have our family…I see his parents as mine, his sister as mine, his aunts and uncles and cousins are all mine…when his gramma passed a few years ago, my gramma passed and I hurt as much as when I lost my blood grandparents.
This past August Kirk’s Uncle Jamie (mom’s youngest sibling) was diagnosed with cancer, in his throat and on his liver. The call was that both were so far progressed that treatments could be done only in the hope of prolonging his life a little. A few weeks ago he had the last of his treatments and was told to go home and live life to his fullest.
Two Saturday evenings ago the families got together and had a big potluck family gathering, Uncle Jamie wanted it. The night was filled with picture taking, laughing and crying. Uncle Jay was bound and determined to have pictures taken with absolutely every person there. Pictures with each of his five siblings and all their families. He was so full of life, laughing and telling jokes, teasing the great nieces and nephews (he never married or had children of his own) and hugging everyone and telling each person how much he loved them.
The next morning my mother-in-law and one of the other brothers left to go back to Florida where they call home.
Wednesday around noon a friend of mine messaged to ask me what was up with Jay, the ambulance had taken him to the hospital that morning. Kirk was home, he made a few calls and found that Uncle Jay had fallen, the ambulance came, he was joking and laughing as they were loading him up to take him to the hospital. Calls came and went through the afternoon and Kirk made the call to go see him.
Kirk checked in throughout the night, it would only be a matter of time…the doctor had him sleeping and he would hopefully go in his sleep. The next day he did. That was a little over a week ago.
The family got together late this afternoon at the church for a prayer service. Tomorrow morning is the funeral, at the local school where he worked. The kids loved him, the choir is even singing a song. Knowing how emotional it’s going to be, really dreading the funeral.
It’s hard enough to lose a family member, hard enough to do the funeral thing, hard to mourn with a community watching…I’m the biggest cry baby/emotional person you can imagine, and I hate people seeing me cry and I know it will be no holds bar tomorrow. As hard as all that is, is the fact that Uncle Jamie was 51 years old, the first sibling to pass of six and the baby of the family. He loved as hard as anyone I know.
He took care of Gramma when she was sick, was with her when she passed, he lived with her the last several years of her life. He loved his siblings and nieces and nephews, it wasn’t uncommon for him to scold one of his nieces and nephews for something they did or did not do that he found to be wrong.
He dated his high school sweetheart for many, many years…we believe he never got over loving her. They broke up only because she was ready to get married and have a family and he wasn’t. She moved on. There was never another for him.
This is a small community, there aren’t even 200 kids in the entire high school where he worked. The town he was born, raised and passed in has a population of less than 350 people. Uncle Jamie was friends with everyone. He always had a laugh, a smile and an I love you for those he loved. He was so young.
We take comfort in that his battle was short, he suffered a very short amount of time, if nothing else, we have to be happy for him for that reason alone.
About a month ago we were at another of his brother’s, the guys were working on Leo’s pickup. Jamie gave Leo a ring that was his that had been his dad, that man Leo was named after…Grampa Leo. He filled Leo in on the type of music to play when going parking with a girl, and the type of lighting to put in for the romance factor. Leo took it all in! He was squirrely that day and that’s how I’ll always remember him!