I gathered the letters I’d saved from Uncle Al and put them in chronological order, then tied a green ribbon around them and set them on the raised counter. Pity that the earliest one I have is from 2000, unless there are others in places yet unknown or unremembered. The last is postmarked May. I must not have saved the rest. It’s only in hindsight that I realize how I might have saved them and been comforted and cheered by his words and warmth toward us. But it’s too late. I would’ve loved to have spoken to him one last time, tell him how much I love him and am grateful for his unconditional love for us, to have seen him one last time and gotten one of those enormous hugs. Kev wanted to call him on his birthday, but I didn’t want to. What a fool! Kev doesn’t insist on things like that unless there’s some good reason, a reason he probably didn’t want to share with me at the time and maybe didn’t even recognize.
Too late—two of the saddest words ever put together… Lord, I’ve wasted so much time, left great voids of zero and worthlessness in my path. Help me to love the simple things in life like Uncle Al did and to treasure family and friends and the time You grant us here. He wouldn’t want me to kick myself this way. He’d want me to say a kind word to someone, hug my kids, hold hands with Kev, to be happy and thankful. And perhaps think of him sometime in the warming colors of a fall aspen, cherish family and friends, and to raise a glass to Life…
Lord, my God, thank You for my Uncle Al. He always remembered our birthdays, our anniversary, all the holidays. He sent us real Wisconsin cheese on a regular basis. It was more than the cheese that I loved. It was the tremendous love & joy behind it. Thank You for his life, for his love for us, his love of laughter, and his zest for the simple things in life. Thank You for his consistent encouragement and the power of his generosity and thoughtfulness.
Wow, I couldn’t go on. Had a little unscheduled meltdown right there… The sound of my own sobs even sound unreal.