My Uncle passed away recently. It was incredibly abrupt and sad. His health had been poor for some time and they were getting ready to do surgery. I knew this. I thought he would be fine. They were trying to get his oxygen levels up so that he would be ok for the surgery. But before they got that done, he passed away. I was really thrown off by this. I guess you can never really be prepared for something like that.
This particular uncle had some bad things in his past…some poor choices and poor behavior. I never saw any of that and personally, I’m glad I didn’t. What I knew…was that he loved me and he always showed me that. He always had a hug and a smile for me.
I will miss him.
As I thought about all of this…I immediately thought of the last time I saw him. Then I smiled. The last time I saw my uncle, we were at a Mexican restaurant, celebrating my mom’s birthday. I happened to be sitting next to that particular aunt and uncle that night. We chatted through dinner. After we ate, my boyfriend was being silly with a single circle of grilled onion…putting it on my plate when he thought I wasn’t looking. Since boyfriend and I are both performers at a Renaissance Festival, we both had similar thoughts when I picked up the piece of onion. I eyed it for a moment and then did something silly with it. I don’t remember the specifics…but something to the effect of, “Look…it’s a finger hula hoop,” while twirling it about my finger. I tossed it back to boyfriend, who came up with something else it could be. Across the next few minutes, the piece of onion became a necklace, a mustache, a hat, a bracelet, an earring, a Hari Krishna ponytail…and multiple other strange things. As we did this…everyone started watching and laughing.
My uncle, who was quite hard of hearing, had to ask my aunt several times to repeat what we had said the onion was each time. And each time, he gave quite a belly laugh. He was very amused by our silliness. We played this game for quite a while and entertained our entire table and a few people at the next table…and a couple of people who were not even in our party. We are silly like that.
At the end of the night, I hugged everyone and said goodbye…never even fathoming that it would be the last time I saw my uncle. But looking back…I am so blessed to have such a lovely final memory of him.
Rest in peace, Uncle Wayne. You were loved…and will be missed.