Yesterday morning, my cousin Marie called to tell me that my uncle (whom we always called “Unkie”) passed away. He had been living with Marie and her husband Joe for several months, and was happy to be there. His wife, Dottie, had passed away years ago, and I feel pretty certain that she was waiting for him, arms open wide and with a big smile on her face.
Unkie was my mom’s favorite brother. He was there when I was born, and while my mother was recouperating, he helped care for me. As I grew up, he often came to visit us in Wolfeboro NH. Having him visit was always fun; he was loving and kind, and told the funniest jokes.
He was a single man for years, and then he met Dottie, who became the love of his life. When my mother quizzed him about her, he said in his sweet and humble way: “I don’t see anything wrong with her.” They married and had a wonderful life together. They lived in Florida, and were wonderful square dancers. When they came to visit us, if Unkie said something out of line or teased her, she would say, “Oh, Raymond!” But she still smiled. When she died, he of course missed her.
Long story short, he moved up to Maine and Marie and her husband Joe helped him move into assisted living. They were close by, and they often took Unkie out for lunch. One of his favorites were lobster rolls in the summer time, and they made sure that he had plenty of them.
As time went on, it became evident that he needed more that assisted living. Marie and Joe kindly took him into their home and Unkie was happy to be there. He was surrounded by kindness and love, and he lived there for a long time. When the time came that he needed Hospice, Joe and Marie helped him with that as well.
When he was slowly but comfortably dying, he could even make jokes then. Once when one of the Hospice workers came in to his room with Marie, he was lying in bed with his eyes closed. The Hospice worker tried to feel his pulse, and Unkie with his eyes still shut, said, “I’m dead.” Everyone laughed their heads off.
He had a wonderful life and was deeply loved by many. He was my favorite uncle, and I loved with all my heart. I will miss him dearly; my last and best uncle.