Wednesday, March 27, 2013

For Uncle Jim ...

I woke up one morning a couple weeks ago to see my Momma's name on my phone screen. I answered and could here the distress in her voice. My Uncle Jim had passed away. A man only in sixties, a man who could make anyone laugh, a man who had beat cancer. 


Although I didn't see my Uncle Jim very often in my adult years, I had always looked at him in a special light. As a kid, he was always the fun Uncle we'd go visit in Florida. He was the one who called Publix - Pubix, WalMart - Wally World and Winn Dixie ... well, we won't say what he called it. He always made me laugh and he called me his Princess as long as I called him the King. As an adult, he was the Uncle who married Travis and I. The man who believed in us, even though we were still kids. 

The last time I saw my Uncle Jim was for Thanksgiving in 2007. Him and my Aunt Jane had come up for the holiday to see everyone, they met my oldest who had just turned one. I am ashamed that I have no real memories from that specific visit. I wish I did - it was the last time I would see my Uncle Jim. 

My Momma and Uncle Jim

Uncle Jim, my Momma, Uncle Doug, Aunt Jane and Uncle Scott

When I talked to my Momma that morning, I felt a flood of emotions. Many thoughts raced through my mind all at once. How? When? I thought he'd beat the cancer. What about my Aunt Jane? How was she taking it all? Was she with him? And why ... why hadn't my family put more effort into seeing him and my Aunt Jane more. 

I later learned he'd passed in his sleep. Had he beat the pancreatic cancer? Yes, but the chemotherapy had worn him down. Completely. 

His memorial service was this past weekend, so my Mom and I loaded up 2 of the 4 kiddies and headed for Florida. We laughed, talked about Uncle Jim and my Momma shared more stories from her childhood up north, made some fun stops including one for pralines and saw family we haven't seen in years. I even met some cousins for the first time. 

Kohen had grits for the first time at Cracker Barrel and Kruz was nothing short of a wild animal the whole way down. 

We stopped at this place called Magnolia Plantation and left with pralines, fisherman hats and jellybeans. I'd say it was a successful stop. 

The stay in the hotel went better than I had expected. Kohen slept all night both nights, which surprised me since we were away from home. And Kruz enjoyed having breakfast with PawPaw two mornings in a row. 

Here is PawPaw and Kruz ready for the service and the display for Uncle Jim. 

Kohen discovered his toes are delicious on the ride home. 

The memorial service was nothing fancy. It was held in his home church in a little town that reminded me of Mayberry. Kohen was not having anything of the sort with having to be quiet longer than the first half of the service, so I listened from the front porch of this little church ... I listened to some of my Uncle Jim's closest friends talk about him, cry about him and laugh about some of his most hilarious moments. They talked about his love for the Lord, his and Aunt Jane's love for cats and how much he prayed for his son when he was over seas in the war. 

I laughed. I teared up. But most of all I smiled. That's what Uncle Jim would have wanted most anyway. 


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