We all have that favorite uncle or aunt that treats you extra special or nice. Well, for me that was Uncle Jim. My father and him, the only male siblings, were very close. That closeness seemed to rub off onto me. We’d go shooting and do other outdoor activities. He would always tell me jokes and stories of the past. Sometimes he would even help me get away with a little mischief, which, undoubtedly, is a required quality to have to be chosen as favorite uncle. Of course Uncle Jim met and overachieved in every quality. So the day we heard about his brain cancer hit us like a harsh blow to the face with a board.
The next visit he couldn’t leave the hospital due to medical regulations. So we didn’t get to go shooting, boating, or do anything outside the hospital. I still saw him everyday and we talked, but even then I could see the usual bright spark in his brown eyes fading. He tried to cover with jokes and laughter, and we went along with it, though we all knew the truth. At that point I still didn’t think about what would happen to him, I just kept telling myself that he would get better eventually. Later on his condition became worse, so my parents decided to fly up there and help out so that his family could stay with him more often. Knowing that my parents needed to make an extra trip worried me. I knew people died and that no one lived forever. Though, the thought never occurred to me that I might lose someone I cared about. I didn’t think about the devastation a death would cause my family, because I still thought that he would recover. My parents didn’t come home for an entire week and we had to stay with my aunt. Both my sister and I began to get a little jumpy. Then that fateful day came.
Watching TV, our aunt called us downstairs to sit on the couch. With obvious regret she told us that our Uncle Jim had passed away last night. Our initial reaction was shock, which slowly gave way to mourning. We all moved slowly for the next few days. Eventually we returned to our normal routines.
The enormity of what happened hit me the next visit to Uncle Jim’s family. There were no trips to the shooting range or long boat rides. You could tell that his family was still trying to get used to daily life without him. We all helped out trying to get their lives straightened out. Now I saw how much we all enjoyed and depended on my uncle and how life would change without him. At that point I realized that no matter what you think, your life on Earth will end. Therefore, live it to the max, don’t take anything, or anyone, for granted. I didn’t realize this till the day my Uncle Jim died.
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