Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We Know Not The Time Nor The Place

One week ago today we lost a good man.  There are many descriptors for my Uncle Bob, but good seems to encompass so much and, of course, words can never fully express all the lives he has touched.  My uncle's departure was a sudden and unexpected one.  He led a healthy life, doing all the "right" things: going to the doctor regularly, exercising, eating right, and enjoying retirement fully.

I know that Uncle Bob would not want us to grieve on this day, or rather grieve and then celebrate a life fully lived.  My uncle lived each day to its fullest and not in some cliche way.  He worked in an industry that he enjoyed (so much so that he ended up retiring...twice) and that challenged his intellect and creativity.  In retirement, he didn't talk about doing things.  He did them.  He was intrigued by woodworking and creating with his hands.  So he did.  He wanted to keep his body healthy with exercise and activity.  So he did.  And he continued to enjoy a favorite past time in golf.  And another favorite past time was giving time both in a voluntary form to help others and spending time with family and friends.  Uncle Bob knew how to do things right.  And his way was always right.

My Uncle Bob and Aunt Cathy lived a life filled with love.  They also showed that love took work, and sometimes tolerance.  That love is not always easy.  But that it is worth it.  And that death does not stop a marriage.  On the night of my uncle's passing, with many family members filling their home with love and support, the power went out.  I decided that Uncle Bob wasn't finished bugging my Aunt Cathy and that we were sure to see many signs of his presence in the near future.  That night the sky filled with lightning and powerful, booming thunder and my cousin's reflection that "Someone special was entering heaven that night" was proven by the spectacular night sky.

My uncle was proud (as he should have been) of both his children.

My cousin, Rob, followed dreams that others would only dream, but never live.  He drove cross country to really experience America, worked in game development for Harmonix industry (a dream for any child of the 80's), and pursued Air Guitar Champion prowess on the national stage.  Most recently, my uncle gathered his family together around his laptop computer for us to watch a surprise.  That surprise was my cousin on stage with the Boston Pops, along with the development team from Harmonix, to sing a Beatles medley as they introduced the advertisement of their newest release.  It was spectacular (as Rob himself is) and he was so proud.

My cousin, Gaby, embodies the kindness of both my aunt and uncle.  Their giving nature and generous spirit.  She has always been a big sister to me and we have always been close, both emotionally and geographically.  My uncle was proud of Gaby being able to stand on her own two feet and find what made her happiest.  She found that in my cousin-in-law, Joe.  Joe has been an amazing source of support for my aunt and cousins and I feel so happy to know that my uncle spent his last moments doing something he loved with someone he loved and trusted so much as Joe.  He also lived his last days creating memories with people he loved in a place he loved.  How many people have that opportunity?  As we've heard many times over the last week, "We know not the time, nor the place."

With that in mind, I feel blessed to have been invited to the beach two weekends ago and to have spent so much quality time with my aunt, uncle, husband, baby, and mother.  Two years ago, Cecelia spent similar time with Aunt Cathy and Uncle Bob and I'm so happy that we were able to have more memories with Uncle Bob before his death.  I know that he enjoyed spending time with my daughter (and I'm also happy she was well behaved for this trip to the beach) and one of my favorite memories of that last weekend was my Uncle Bob bringing Cecelia up onto his lap to give her a tutorial on the computer.  I have a feeling that Cecelia will have a similar love of all things technological as her Uncle Bob did.

I reflect back on how my uncle lived his life and see it as a lesson for us all.  To live each day fully.  To love completely and to accept without judgement.  To see opportunities to help others and embrace them, not begrudge them.  To look at the world and see all there is to marvel at; not all that is wrong.  To see death as only a part of a life well lived.


Rob said...

Thank you so much, Ellen.

jnewfield said...

He was my cousin Bob. Your posting was just wonderful. We will all miss him dearly.

Joan Newfield

Sharon Hartranft said...

What a beautiful tribute to such a wonderful man.....your family is an inspiration to me and I'm so blessed to know such awesome people.

God bless Mr. W!

Missy Sichler said...

Wonderful, Ellen.