Wednesday, May 5, 2010


My earliest memory of my uncle, moms brother, is from the summer after our parents divorced. Mom, Rose and I came to Oklahoma City to visit her parents. My uncle and his family came over to our grandparents for a cookout. There was so much food I couldn't imagine how we were ever going to eat it all. My uncle and grandfather grilled for what seemed like hours while my cousins and I played in the yard. Rose and my youngest cousin were both infants at the time and we delighted in pulling them around in a wagon. There were many such cookouts over the years once we moved here and always so much food and fun. We never thought about how at some point those days would be gone forever.

My uncle was a kind gentle man much like my grandfather. He served in the Air Force first in active duty and then in the reserves for more than twenty years. He had nine children, seven stepchildren, numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren but he treated Rose and I like daughters. Then quietly, much as he had lived, he died on April 7th.

I spoke to him everyday since I moved back home four years ago, sometimes three or four times a day depending on what was going on in the world. At first our conversations were mostly about mom since she was battling cancer but after she passed away we mostly talked about sports, he was an avid sports fan just like mom was. He would also call about things he heard on the news, I don't like watching the news so he wanted to make sure I knew what was going on. The morning of April 7th we talked about the fact that he wasn't feeling well when he woke up. I asked about his blood sugar and his blood pressure. They were both high but he had taken his medication and was going to take it easy he said. The day before he had been running errands and on Monday he had worked in his garden. I didn't think much of the fact that he said he didn't feel well but asked that he call me later to let me know how he was feeling. When my phone rang at about 7:00 pm and I saw on the caller id it was him I answered the phone by saying "hey how ya feeling?" but, instead of his voice it was my aunt saying he was not breathing.

We rushed to the hospital but I knew that if paramedics had left their home with him not breathing they were unable to revive him. When I told Rose that he was in heaven with mom, grandma and grandpa, our favorite cousin Thomas and our Aunt Julia she said she wanted to go to heaven too. I didn't know how to respond at first but then I said that I hoped she would stay with me because if she left there would be no one to take care of me. She didn't respond but I hope we both live a long time, I'm not sure what I would do without her.

There are things in life that are expected but yet when they happen they are often unexpected. Death is one of those things. And even though I have lost all of the people who made me who I am and the pain of that will never go away, I am grateful for being born into the family that I was born into.

This is my first painting since my uncles death and I titled it Unexpected for all those things that I should have seen coming a mile away but never did.

Have a great day everybody, thanks for stopping by.