For those that don't know, my sweet uncle Don passed away last week. He has been struggling with diabetes and cancer for some time and he lost his battle on Tuesday.
I really thought I was prepared for when his "time" came. It wasn't until that morning when I received the call that I realized I wasn't. For years, due to his health conditions, a lot of thought he would pass before my aunt but he proved himself a fighter! After the love of his life passed away he declared that he had "a lot more living to do". And he did. For 2 years. Ironically, he passed 2 years to the month that she did.
My uncle was a very stoic and quiet man(mostly because I think she let him do most of the talking). He served time as a paratrooper in the United States Army. He worked almost his entire life whether it was for American Standard or working with his son, Steve at his businesses. He was an active member of his church (attended every Sunday) and Civitan. He also "served time" as one of my parents.
I don't know if he ever really knew how much he meant to me. I talked more to my aunt (remember, he's kinda quiet...well, until you get him reeeaaally angry :) ) mostly because she was my mother figure and girls tend to be closer to their mothers. The man deserved a medal for taking me in and treating me as one of his own.
I have a lot of good memories of him and for that I'm grateful. I do have some favorites though. He was the one that took me to get my driver's permit (my 2nd go'round). He had to take a driving test the same day and he almost didn't pass. Then when we got up on the interstate I noticed that the speedometer wasn't working and I told him and all he could say was "Hmm. I didn't notice on the way over. Just don't speed".
Every night before he would head upstairs to his office or bed he would come down to tell my aunt goodnight with a kiss. I don't ever recall a time when he didn't kiss her goodnight.
He danced with me at my wedding. He started a square dance at my wedding.
He was one of the first people to hold my child after he was born. He let me refer to him as "granddad" for Zach. He called himself "granddad" when talking to Zach.
I don't know what the "after life" holds for us, but I do know that if there is one...he is finally home with his love...probably catching up on some dancing.