photo borrowed from Facebook
I got word from my brother last night that our Uncle Laverne, my mom's brother, was in the hospital. He had undergone surgery and was not waking up from it. This morning I found out that he had passed away late last night, 13 years to the day from when my dad lost his battle with brain cancer. I like to think that the two of them are enjoying a happy reunion, with plenty of hugs and teasing and catching up with each other.
I am going to attempt to put into words what I have been feeling all day but I'm not sure I can capture it. I have been surprised at how emotional this news has made me. Don't get me wrong, I love my Uncle Laverne like crazy, but we didn't see each other much. I would probably talk on the phone with him every couple of years or so and we stayed in touch on Facebook some, sent Christmas cards and such. He is one of those men who is just as good as they come and he always had kind words to say about me, my husband, my family, my life.
Whenever we would see Laverne he was always so full of life and laughter and happiness and hugs. And his sweetheart Evelyn was always by his side. They celebrated 60 years of marriage just last summer. What a wonderful legacy!
When Allen and I got married Uncle Laverne and Aunt Evelyn surprised us by coming to our wedding. They drove 14+ hours to show their support and love and it's something I will never forget.
I can't count the number of times that Allen and I have talked about taking a trip to Washington so that our kids could get to know my side of the family better. Outside of my siblings and their families my kids really don't know any of the extended family on my side. They don't know any of my parents' siblings or their families. We wanted to change that but we never did. So maybe the greatest part of the sadness I feel in learning of Uncle Laverne's leaving this life is because of missed opportunities. My kids will never know him and I think that is a real tragedy.
This was just another reminder to me of figuring out what my priorities are and really sticking to my guns to make them happen. Family should always be a priority. There is nothing that can replace family relationships, including extended family. They are the glue that holds generations together.
Thanks for all you taught me, Uncle Laverne. Thank you for your unconditional love. Thank you for sharing your testimony with me in our phone conversations. Thank you for your laugh, your smile, your example. Give my dad a big hug for me.