Today, my family lays to rest the oldest of my mother’s generation, my Uncle Robert. My uncle was a Marine who served in Vietnam before I was born. I didn’t know him as soldier. When I was a toddler, he was the uncle who would come in the house, looking for me as he shouted “Where’s that big head baby?” 😂 I did not have a big head, but that was his gruff way of showing care towards me.
He was the loud, opinionated uncle who showed no fear of anyone or anything. He “took no mess” from anyone, especially children and people trying to sell him something. He could bargain like no one’s business. He was the first born, the beloved first son. He was an influencer with the ability to draw you into any story he was telling, all listeners waiting with baited breath for the punchline, the clincher. He didn’t seem to care what you thought of him. He was who he was and 100% unapologetic about it. He also thought he was Supafly. 😂✊🏾
He leaves a devoted wife and three daughters (one older than me, two younger) who knew him at different stages of his life. Please pray for them as it has hit them the hardest.
His passing has me thinking a lot about family. I love the church families of which I’ve been a part. The body of Christ has nurtured me, showing me who God has called me to be. My biological family, through their stories of family history, help explain who I am and why. I want a balance of the two.
His passing also has me thinking about how I will be remembered when my time comes. I want to be remembered in all my complexity. I’m a daughter, niece, sister-like friend to some. I love people and hearing their stories. I love history and learning how our world works and why things are. Languages fascinate me. Faith boggles my brain yet draws me into its complex vortex daily. Love confounds me. While these are things I deem important, these may not be what others remember.
While I understand the concept of eternal life in Christ, my uncle’s passing reminds me that my parents are now “grandparent age”. My mother and her siblings are that older generation in my family since all of my grandparents have passed. I’m reminded they may have more years behind them than ahead. As a result, I want to spend time with them as much as possible, absorbing their wisdom, committing their mannerisms to memory and letting them know just how much my heart is filled with love for them.
I’ve expressed this before, but it’s an appropriate time to reiterate the importance of showing appreciation and love to the special people in your life while you still can. I know everyone’s family situation is different. If the conditions are right, take time to sit with the elders to hear about their lives and your family’s history before you came on the scene. These stories are a testament of your family’s strength, perseverance and survival in this world. The stories we tell are the vignettes we remember about others. While there may be good and bad moments, let’s leave something meaningful for others.
How do you want to be remembered?