Thursday, January 14, 2010

Games, Family, and Death.

January 2, 2009 my Uncle Ted passed away from brain cancer. It was a horrible battle and shook all of us. It was right on the heels of my grandmother passing away the year before from cancer as well. It was sad, it was inevitable and in a way it was a relief to us all. So this year on the second, the first year anniversary of my uncle's passing, we all got together for games and food. Uncle Ted wasn't much for playing the kind of games we played but he loved having everyone together and the buzz of people talking and eating around him.

Everyone wanted to play a new game this year. Have you heard of this game called Bang! It's complicated and with two young kids to feed and keep up with I wasn't inclined to play. So I did what I do best, clean, serve and snap pictures.

The lady in the sheriff's hat is Erin (my round about cousin) and though the hat DOES NOT come with the game she picked it up for this game so that whomever is Sheriff gets the honor of wearing a fashion forward hat. Next to her is of course Isaac, he didn't play but was happy to watch and play his Leapster at the same time. My mom is next to him and though she looks like me, that's my sister in the green shirt and goofy smile. (Mom of course is yucking it up...what she does best I'm afraid)

Evan Grace spent her time running back and forth for a cookie or soda (a treat in this household) After awhile she and I went upstairs and played a few rounds of Guitar I rock that game.

This is what the men of the family do when we get together. Sit around, drink (all except for my dad that is) and talk hunting and fishing stories. My dad is on the far left of the screen in the Carhartt hat. The other men in the photo are my aunts father and 2 brothers. Good guys, super guys. Got along with my uncle very well and have really stepped in to help out with Connor, my cousin, Ted's only child.

My cousin Connor in the orange shirt, my Uncle Ted's only son. He's a few months older than Mackenzie and has an amazing sense of dry humor. Just like his dad. Don't you love the pose for this picture. Beside him is Grant, Connor's best friend as well as his cousin and mine.

Mackenzie, way to cool to get involved in anything spent her time with me posing for pictures. I can always count on her for a good photo. Here she's actually sporting a new ring she got for Christmas, it's like the only ring she's ever really truly liked wearing. It is pretty cool.

All in all, the night was fun for most. I felt extremely uncomfortable, everything felt off, forced, like everyone was dancing around the elephant in the room. I wanted to stand up on the table and scream at one point, "Can't we just say his name, can't we just say I miss him and if he were here right now he's be lighting up a cigarette and making some snarky remark that would make us all laugh!" It was frustrating to say the least. My family hasn't been faced with a lot of dear ones deaths as other families might be. Aside from my grandfather passing when my mother was younger, my grandmother and uncle are the only ones to pass from a family of six. Maybe no one knows what to do, maybe everyone was afraid if they said his name that someone would lose it and start crying and the entire night would be beyond repair. Maybe that were just afraid that if they said his name that it would make it all real. Whatever the reason, I couldn't take much of it, so I packed the two little kids up and headed home, enjoying the sense of being able to shrug off the oppression of people silently grieving.

I don't want to be like my family in the 'keep it quiet' when someone passes. I refuse to keep to myself what everyone should be saying to each other. So, deep breath in, here it goes.

I miss you Uncle Ted, though I didn't know you well and didn't get the chance to spend much time with you I miss you. I enjoyed hanging out with you when you came to visit, I loved the witty jokes you cracked, the pranks you would pull on the family. I loved your dry sense of humor. I hate that you had to face something as horrible as cancer, I hate that towards the end you were in such pain it was hard to breath. I hate that you left behind a caring wife and amazing son. I hate, hate, hate not knowing that I may never see you again. I miss you, you like everyone else had issues and problems and struggles, but you were a good uncle and had so much to offer this family. We miss you, we grieve for you and want you back everyday.
 My uncle is on the top left of this picture. Taken shorly after he got sick. The rest of the people in the picture are his brothers and sister, minus one sister that never makes it home.

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