As with so many near and dear to us, there will be no flashy front page articles on the passing of one’s life. The world will go on as it did just yesterday. But for those of us who are mourning the death of a loved one, our lives are now different and forever changed by our loss. What we have now are our memories and our love and our prayers.
If my uncle were on the front page this morning, the article might read something to this effect: “Early this morning, the world said good bye to a great man… Charles, who lost his battle to liver cancer, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones…” And while his passing was indeed peaceful, and while he was surrounded by his youngest brother and sister in law while the rest of the world slept unknowingly, I would argue that it was not a battle lost, but a battle won.
We all share struggles in this life. My uncle’s struggle with cancer was very brief, as he only became aware of it mid-July of this year. He has always been a sweet and loving man, generous and outgoing. He was nothing less while he suffered through his cancer these past months. And though his last week or two was uncomfortable, he endured it peacefully and humbly.
He has always been very close t0 my five children. Today, with tears in their eyes, they remember the ball games he took them to, the movies they saw together: Avatar, Madagascar, Toy Story 3, just to name a few. They remember how he made the four hour drive to our home to visit us when my 6 year old turned 7, and how whenever we drove down to where he and much of our other family live, he always opened his house to us. He adored us all and he especially adored my children. As he had none of his own, I always felt like he lived out “Dad” through them at times.
But perhaps the most remarkable and miraculous thing was his spirituality during his past few months. Many people get religious and go looking for God and cures when faced with a terminal illness. But he seemed to not find Him out of superstition or in hopes of a cure, yet out of a genuine conversion. He was baptized into the Orthodox Church, coincidently, the same day his father passed away seven years prior. And while we will all miss him terribly, we know that he is now at peace, whole and well. He is in Paradise, where there is no suffering, no sighing and no tears.
Memory Eternal, beloved Uncle, Great Uncle, nephew and brother!
Uncle Charlie with my 11-year old, 8-year old and hubby, 5 days before his death.