A year ago today Lis was considered in “remission” from leukemia. It should be a time of celebration in our family. One year without any signs of leukemia! Whoohoo! Not quite.
Monday, April 24 my Uncle Jeff, my Mom’s baby brother, passed away. He was 45-years old.
UJ was driving a semi-truck up to Canada when he stopped near the border crossing. While waiting in the trucker’s line he suffered a heart attack – three clogged arteries and an enlarged heart. They tried to revive him but it was too late. The doctors don’t think he suffered and that it went quick. It was the second heart attack for him in four years.
I know it sounds like drama follows our family, but it really doesn’t. Last year was the first time our immediate family had gotten horrible news. A year later the news gets worse.
I’ve never had to deal with the loss of someone so close. My cousin died tragically when I was in my early teens but at the time our families weren’t that close.
I’ve never been to a funeral either, now I’m helping with plans and being asked to write something up and possibly speak with my brothers.
It’s been a crazy couple of days.
Monday, my Mom called me at work, hysterical saying that she got a call from Sara (UJ’s wife) saying that Uncle Jeff may be dead. “WHAT!?!” I shouted out. She told me she had to go and would call back. I sat for a minute, or what seemed like hours, waiting for the callback. I couldn’t believe it. She asked if Lis and I could come to UJ’s house. When we got there we got the shocking news we were afraid of getting. UJ had passed. It seemed unreal, and still does. (Sorry if I’m giving details but it seems to be helping me…so I’ll continue).
We hung out at Sara’s for awhile. Every now and then someone would break down and cry. You feel better, you cry, you feel better, you cry some more. Just has its up and downs, I’m finding out.
It’s been hard on my family, especially my grandparents, who are closing in on their 50th anniversary, and my mom. UJ was close to us all. He was my dad’s best man, he worked with my dad and my brothers and lived with us off an on for quite a while. He taught us all about charlie horses and breaking wind. Erik looks just like him.
Monday night Erik and I went to the airport to pick up Randy. We got home around 1:30am and hung out and talked for awhile. It was nice chatting with my brothers. We didn’t talk too much about UJ but about other things, it was nice having that time with my brothers.
Yesterday we took the 2-hour drive to see where UJ was. Earlier, while hanging out at my grandparent’s house, Grandpa broke down and wanted to see where UJ’s last breath was taken. So we took the trip up north. It was emotional but we’re all glad we went. It was nice seeing where he last was and nice hearing from people that had witnessed what happened with him and people that tried to help him. It was a peaceful, small town. One lady put flowers next to where the door of his truck was. It feels good knowing there are people out there that are willing to do something like that. It made the family feel good.
Now we wait for the plans to be set on the funeral. I’m sure it’s only going to get tougher these next couple of days.
Sunday, we plan on having a big party, if you can call it a party, for UJ. Being the party-animal that UJ was, he’d want us to party. We joked that we should all take a toke and pass it around for UJ. Yah, UJ digged the loco grama (crazy grass). It should be a nice way for us to all tell stories and spend time together with everyone.
Thanks for letting me share my story. Unfortunately, it follows an entry where I complained about stuff.