He was a GREAT-Uncle

Published December 31, 2013 by Malia

Brain: You need to put on socks.

Me: Why?

Brain: Because you don’t want your feet to be cold and your toes to get frostbit.

Me:  Is it really that important?

Brain: Yes.  You have to wear shoes to work, and you need socks if you’re going to wear shoes.

Me: Oh.

Brain: Also, don’t forget your lunch.

Well, I remembered the socks and forgot my lunch.  1 out of 2 ain’t bad considering how today went.

My Uncle Mike passed away kind of suddenly this morning, shortly before I went to work.  We’re all still kind of in shock here, hence me actually questioning the wearing of socks.

Uncle Mike was a pretty amazing guy.  He was incredibly smart, and really seemed to love life.  He was my great-uncle, but he was almost like another grandpa to me.  He was very kind to me, and even as I got older he still showed that he cared about me.

When I was little I would get to see him once a year.  We would come home to Nebraska for two weeks during the summer, and he and Aunt Donna would usually kid-sit me one of the nights we were home.  I loved them and their home.  Uncle Mike had a vintage Pong machine that he would hook up for me so I could play.  It was my first encounter with a videogame console, and I was a bit hooked.

At the end of those visits, he would usually slip me a twenty, which-to a kid with no money-was a pretty big deal.

When I was in high school, we were visiting him one night, and he was talking about this foreign exchange student they had hosted years earlier, and how he had told the kid that if they ever got married, he would be at the wedding.  He then turned to me and promised me that when I got married he would be there.  It was funny, because I didn’t even think about it until today while I was at work.  It was so hard when Grampa died because I knew he would never get to attend my wedding (should that magical day ever happen), and now both Grampa and Uncle Mike won’t be there.

When I was in school training to be a vet tech, I was taking Pharmacology.  Uncle Mike was a pharmacist, and he ended up working for the State of Nebraska.  (I’m not sure what he did exactly, but I know that if you were a pharmacist who was not behaving properly, my uncle was the last person you wanted to see walk into your pharmacy).  Pharmo wasn’t an easy class for me, and most of the time I felt that if I had to memorize one more drug that had a name ending in “-myicin/micin” I was going to scream.  When I got through the class, and passed.  Uncle Mike told my Gramma (his sister) to tell me that not only was he proud of me, but also to remember that if something wasn’t hard, it wasn’t worth doing.  This is probably some of the most meaningful advice an adult has ever given me.

So, as 2013 closes, I say good-bye to my uncle, and wish you all a happy and safe New Year’s.

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One comment on “He was a GREAT-Uncle

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