I didn’t sleep well Friday night. I kept waking up with odd dreams and an upset stomach. I was nervous. The day that I had dreaded all week had arrived and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to face the reality of my uncle no longer being with us.
We arrived at the funeral home and the emotions quickly sank in. As I got out of the car I began to tear up. Uncle Steve pulled into the stall next to us and as his family got out of the car he sat, listening to the CD we had made a couple nights before. He too, had tears in his eyes. Nobody was ready to face what was ahead.
We crossed the road and stepped into the funeral home. Once inside I turned to my brothers and said, “Let’s get this over with”. We turned back around only to see the casket laying there with Uncle Jeff in it. As we approached the casket I began to break down and when I got near my knees buckled and I almost fainted. Luckily for me, my Uncle Steve and my brothers were there to lift me back up.
It was very emotional and it took me awhile to let the reality of it all sink in. I went through disbelief, anger, extreme sadness and then relief all in a matter of a minute (I’m sure there were more, but don’t remember much of it). Once it was over with I felt exhausted, lightheaded, almost as if I was drugged.
My parents were right though I did feel better. Felt ready to give my speech and make Uncle Jeff proud. And I believe my brothers and I did that.
The slideshow was great and our speeches were heartfelt and entertaining. I was very proud of my brothers, they held their composure well and gave good speeches about UJ.
I was also proud of my Uncle Steve. He stepped in as the head of the family and did a great job representing us.
After the service everyone went to my parent’s house for a “gathering”. We shared stories and laughter and watched the slideshow again. It was weird to be laughing and having fun but it felt good.
Oddly, it snowed later in the day. As if Uncle Jeff was in Heaven telling us that he’s not in a hot place (hehe). It was like his tears from Heaven. It wasn’t a lot of snow, just big flakes that would melt when they hit the cars or driveway, but still, it was odd to have those flakes in late April and odd that they were happening now. It’s times like these when I have to think…how could you not think there was a God? Signs like these, you’ve got to believe that it wasn’t just a coincidence.
That evening our guests left but the family remained. We stayed up late hearing stories of the past. Things my parent’s probably didn’t want us to hear. Hearing Cousin Butch tell stories of UJ and my Uncle Steve, Mom and Dad chiming in with their take on the stories. My brothers, cousin and I just sat and enjoyed listening to our family history.
It was nice hearing the stories and spending some time making new memories with our family. We had never hung out like this – as adults (if that’s what you can call us) – so it felt good to share this time with them.
And Josh…yep, he went to the service with us and hung out the whole night with my family. Earlier at the service I gave him a hug and thanked him for coming. I told him he’s like a brother to us and it meant a lot to me and my family that he came to the service. Uncle Jeff wasn’t only an uncle to my brothers and I, but my friends also called him Uncle Jeff.