I couldn’t sleep tonight, so I decided to put “pen to paper” to get my thoughts out. There’s no pictures in this one, only thoughts and memories.
We lost a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, and friend today to cancer. Uncle Bob is Brian’s uncle; he married Aunt Holly, Mom-in-love’s sister. He was also Brian’s godfather.
Uncle Bob wasn’t that old. Late 50s. He was jovial; he always had a smile and could crack a joke. He loved his daughters. He was so excited to be a grandfather (but don’t call him grandpa; he’s not old enough for that name!); his first grandchild is not even 6 months old. I think my favorite thing about Uncle Bob is he loved Marrion’s Piazza (in Dayton, Ohio) as much as I did!
But Cancer. It robbed him of his life, of time and memories with his family. It robbed his grandchildren of the feeling of his hug and sound of his laughter. It robbed so much from everyone.
We were on our way up to IKEA today when we got the news. It made both Brian and I contemplative as we strolled the walkways, sitting in chairs and opening drawers. We watched Caleb run from bed to bed as we discussed which shelving units we were getting today and took pictures of the desk and underbed drawers and loft bed we plan on getting at our next trip.
As we were eating lunch (because you can’t go to IKEA without getting Swedish meatballs!), talk turned towards memories. Brian asked me if I remembered the very first time we ever came to IKEA; of course I do. We were dating, less than a year, when Brian moved out of the apartment he shared with his father and into his own. To prep for the move, since Brian was starting from scratch, we journeyed the 45 minutes to get the necessities prior to him moving in. Of course, when you are dirt poor, the necessities differ greatly for what we’d claim as necessities today. We bought a small dish set, cheap glasses, a table and 4 chairs set. Other bare bone items you truly need when living alone. And we struggled to buy every last cheap glass and not so great quality duvet cover. We counted every last cent as we placed it in our cart. The very first day after we moved in, Brian went to work while I put the table and chairs together (I was and still am so proud I actually did that!). We still have that dining set; we still pinch pennies, though Brian’s job affords is many more little luxuries then we have ever had.
And we both said the same thing- we will never forget that time. We will never forget that building of our lives together, fighting to journey through life as one unit.
There’s a wall plaque I saw online that I told Brian I would love for my birthday. It says “I still remember the days I prayed for the blessings I have now.” How poignant! How moving! How grounding! It not only reminds us where we came from, but reminds us that we pray and God is the one who answers those prayers. It’s the Lord of all creation that bestows such benevolent blessings on those whom are created in His image. And if we never ever forget that, and we use prayer all the time- for thanks and praise, for requests, for hurt and sorrow, for health- He will answer with the best answer. It may not be the answer we want, but it’s the right answer nonetheless.
Let us always strive to practice humility and remember our roots. Even if you were personally born into privilege, you’re still benefiting from someone’s hard work and humble beginning- the very beginning of your roots planted down. And let us never forget to thank the One who lovingly granted answers to the those prayers. Uncle Bob was one who not only remembered his roots, he strives to plant even more roots for future generations.
I’m grateful I had the chance to know Uncle Bob. I’m grateful Caleb had the chance to meet him as well. I’m grateful for the gift of love he bestowed on Brian’s Aunt Holly all these years; they truly were a wonderful match. I’m grateful for the gift of life he gave Brian’s cousins, for being not only a father but a best friend to them; and for planting future roots for his grandchild and those to come. I’m grateful for all the hard work and devotion he put in when it came to Brian’s grandparents- heartily and without hesitation. I’m grateful for the times we had with him ourselves- from them journeying on the 10 hour drive to come to our wedding, to celebrating with us when we joyfully announced to the family at Grandpa’s 90th birthday we were expecting our first child. I’m just grateful for Bob.
If you think on it, please say a prayer for Bob’s wife, children, and grandchild as they go through the grieving and settle into a new “normal”. There’s never the right words to say with death, but L and K, please know we are holding you all close in our thoughts and we love you dearly. God is holding you all in the palm of His hand; He weeps alongside you. We love you.