Monday, September 12, 2011

A Sad Day

My uncle passed away last Friday. Unfortunately the news was not a shock. He'd been in poor health for a long time--an obscure lung disease forced a lung transplant, during which he suffered a stroke and never fully recovered. Some things in life make no sense to me. Like how such a vibrant, healthy, fun man could be incapacitated at a relatively young age.

I've always loved him. Growing up, our families were extremely close. Honestly, their kids, my sister and I felt more like siblings than cousins. My sister and I would sit in our window seat half an hour before they were due to arrive, and we'd press our noses to the glass, wondering out loud if the car approaching could be them.

My uncle and my dad were left in charge of us kids on numerous occasions. Once, we were loading the dishwasher and ran out of detergent. When we asked them what we should do, they told us to use dishwashing liquid. Thirty minutes later we had soap suds climbing the cabinets onto the counter! My uncle and my dad laughed as hard as we did.

We could get away with more with our dads, too. My cousin and I would grab an old sleeping bag and ride it down their wooden staircase over and over. Our moms would yell at us to stop after one go, but the dads? Nope. We'd get at least a dozen rides in before they told us to stop.

As I grew older, our relationship changed. My husband and I moved around a lot, leaving us less time to spend with our extended families. I wish I could have been there for my aunt and cousins for the last few years as they've dealt with extremely difficult circumstances.

Sometimes I wish I could have another weekend of riding down that staircase with my cousin--when our families were intact, healthy, and happy.

I guess I should be thankful I had it to begin with.

I am. I'm very thankful.

It's times like these I'm filled with gratitude for the Lord and my faith because I know I'll see my uncle again.

Have your relationships changed with your extended family as you've gotten older?

Enjoy your day.


  1. Yes! Relationships with extended family and even immediate family change so much as we mature and move away from ones we were once close to.

    I'm truly sorry for your loss, Jill. Even when it's expected, it's not easy to get that call.

  2. I'm sorry to hear that. It's never easy no matter how prepared you think you are.

    I miss my cousins and all the fun times we had, but after we grew up, we all moved around the country and one is "down under" now. I remember those days of noses pressed to glass waiting on the fun.

    Memories are wonderful things to have until you see them on the other side. :) Your family is in my prayers today. HUGS!

  3. Sorry for your loss, Jill.

    Death is one of those things that makes me SO reflective. I think it makes us all reflective.

    Yes, my relationships have changed. I used to be BFFs with two of my cousins when we were kids. But like you, you grow up and things change. We still get along great when we see each other during family get-togethers, but we don't hang out in our free time.

  4. Sorry, Jill.

    I think as I've gotten older, I've appreciated my extended family more as people instead of relatives!

  5. I'm sorry for your loss. I'll be praying for your family. He sounds like a great man.

  6. So sorry. "Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same."
    Author: unknown

  7. I'm so sorry for your loss Jill! Thank you for sharing those little snippets of your family from your childhood. It sounds wonderful!

  8. May God give you peace as you live through your loss.

    Relationships do change. I remember similar bonds with my cousins, and I remember my kids being bonded to their cousins. Age and geography have shifted things in both generations. Now so many of my nieces and nephews are having their own kids, scattered around the country, and I realize with great sadness that I may never even meet them. But I still feel connected. Family is a powerful force even in its absence.

  9. Hugs to you, Jill. I'm so sorry for you and your family.
    My hubby's uncle died tragically at a young age. It was really hard to wrap around my mind that such a wonderful person was gone. We have a framed picture of him in a special place in our living room and our son is named after him.
    Do something special to remember your beloved uncle by, and take time to grieve.
    Take care.

  10. I am sorry to hear this Jill. You had many fun memories. Riding down the stairs with a sleeping bag? I wish I would have had wooden stairs! My extended family is very small. Honestly its my siblings and their children and spouses that I need to cultivate closer relationships. You've reminded me of this.

  11. So sorry for your loss. It's terrible to lose someone like this. Hugs to you and your family.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  12. I just want to hug you! I'm so sorry. (Call if you need to.)

    I'm really close to my husband's aunt. It's wild how relationships morph in all kinds of ways.

    I send love!
    ~ Wendy

  13. Thanks everyone. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

  14. Jill, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Yes, we don't get to visit with extended family as much anymore, so when we do see each other, we try to enjoy quality time together. We do live in close proximity to some members of our family which I'm very grateful for.

    God bless you in the days ahead!

  15. I'm so sorry to hear that you've lost a loved one.

    Relationships change over time. I love meeting my cousins now as adults, and we can reminisce and laugh over the kids we used to be.

  16. So sorry Jill. Take heart and remember everything has it's place and purpose.

  17. Jill
    Very sorry for your loss. My oldest brother was killed in 2005, and it took something like that for me to realize how important family is. So yes, my relationships have changed for the most part. I've learned to accept them for who they are and not get so irritated at the small stuff.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  18. Grieving with you, dear Jill. This is a sad loss for your family. I lost my brother in January, and still find myself starting to pray for him!

    Our families can't help but change. I'm so grateful to have God's love and strength, which remain constant forever.


  19. I'm so sorry to hear about your uncle, Jill. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family this week.

    Long distance has changed my relationship with my family because I move frequently. I went away to go to school, and then I married my husband, who is in the Army. We can't help the distance thing, but we try to communicate via phone and internet as much as we can.

  20. Jill,
    I am so sorry for your loss, but what a joy and refreshing hope it is to know that you'll see him again! I had to cling to that when my grandfather died back in February.

    Like many of the others, I've also experienced the growing pains of family growing up and apart. Like you, I have many amazing memories of times with my cousins when we were small, but as we've aged, we've chosen different paths. It makes me sad. Makes me long for those days gone by. And it also makes me hope that my kids will someday have fond memories of times with their cousins to look back on.

  21. Sorry to hear about your loss, Jill. Praying the good memories carry you through the sad moments.

  22. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's always hard to say goodbye to family members no matter how often or little you end up seeing them.

    I used to be very close to my cousins growing up and I don't see them that often anymore, but when we get together it's like we've been seeing each other everyday. In my opinion that's the sign of a good relationship.

  23. So sorry for your loss. Praying you are comforted and surrounded by love with many blessings.

  24. A beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing a little about him.

  25. Thank you for sharing your treasured memories. :)


  26. My heart goes out to you in your time of loss, Jill. I'm thankful you have such special memories of your uncle.

  27. I am so sorry for your loss, Jill. I have a rather small family - only one aunt on my mother's side, and only four aunts and uncles on my father's side (two of which have already passed). Everyone lives in West Texas and we had family dinner every single Sunday while I was growing up. Because of the size and these dinners, I'm grateful for the very close relationships we all share. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.


I love to hear from you!