This is a tough one to write. Not only because I lost someone that I loved, but because most of the stories about my uncle can’t be told in good company.
The other night we said good-bye to my Uncle Tom. It still amazes me how you can be expecting someone to die, yet when they actually do, it’s still so shocking.
My Uncle Tom was truly one of a kind. He was totally always there for me and my brothers when my parents were sick and died. He and my Uncle Terry came to our house night after night to be with our Dad so that our lives could be as normal as possible.
When we were growing up, every year he would get a fourteen foot Christmas tree and have a houseful of people over to decorate it. It was such an awesome tradition. The trees were always insane.
As we got a little older we’d all have a few drinks while decorating. Preferably shots of Hot Damn. On one particular occasion I can remember spending the night there with my cousin Boosie.
My cousin Devin had a bunch of friends also sleeping over in the basement. My Uncle Tom wouldn’t let me and Boosie go down there. So he sat in a chair with us pretending to sleep on the couches. As soon as he would pass out we’d sneak downstairs and every damn time he’d suddenly wake up and catch us. A true detective.
But that’s exactly how he was. Always looking out for us. Always looking out for everyone.
He was my Dad’s older brother. They were very close. After my mom died he would call all the time to invite my dad out or to his house in Indiana. I remember my Dad telling me how much he appreciated it that Uncle Tom called even though he said no every single time.
Uncle Tom was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago. At first it was pretty subtle, but as time went by it intensified. Things got really bad these past few months. He was a shell of his former self. It was time for him to leave.
And he left exactly the way I think he would have wanted. He came home and it was evident he didn’t have long. So phone calls were made and everyone who needed to be there was there. Especially his beloved wife, Aunt TaryKat.
The love of his life got there just in time to say good-bye. It was one of the most emotional things I have ever witnessed, but also one of the greatest.
He was also surrounded by his four kids and all twelve of his grand kids. It was an amazingly proper Irish send off. Shots of Tullamore Dew were had. Songs were sung. It was perfect.
I didn’t know it was possible for me to look up to my cousins even more than I already did. But after watching what they did for their Dad throughout this entire ordeal, I have no words. All four of them were amazing. They did everything they possibly could to make sure their Dad always had the best. I don’t know how they did it. All I can say is they were raised right.
To my Uncle Tom. Someone who was always there for me when I needed him. I will miss you dearly. And remember you always.