Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Uncle Frank, My Cousin Debbie Together Again.

To say it was a tough couple of weeks would be a major understatement. First my good friend Pat left this world due to lung cancer. Then my heart just ached for The Dolan family already dealing with a dad with Alzheimer's found out their mother had stage IV lung cancer. I am keeping up my prayers for both Pat's family and The Dolan family. I hope you are too. Now I have another family to pray for.

Bridge was cancelled yesterday due to the death of my Mom's brother and my uncle. My Uncle Frank and my Aunt Velma have always been like a second set of parents to me. My cousins Dixie, Dave, Denny and the passed on at to young of age (14) Debbie weren't cousins they were sisters and brothers. I was helping Debbie with her math homework the night before she passed away. She hadn't been sick a day in her life. She had a rare form of leukemia that took her from this earth. My Uncle Frank and her are now together.

My connection with my Uncle Frank began at birth. I was a troubled pregnancy for my Mom. Originally we were at a catholic hospital in Billings, Montana. Then it wasn't known if mom or I or both of us would survive the birth. At that time if there was a choice to save the baby or the mother the Catholic hospital saved the baby. Mom didn't want to leave dad to raise to children (my brother and sister) by himself so chose to be transferred to a hospital where if they had to choose to save one or the other they chose the Mom. Of course both hospitals would try to save both but if that wasn't possible that is where the choice came in. We both survived. I survived mainly because of my Uncle Frank. I had a rare form of infant anemia that meant I couldn't get warm. Really cold, cold enough to die. Uncle Frank had a really warm body temperature and would hold me for hours on end to keep me warm.

All during the time we grew up Frank's family and our family lived in the same town. We celebrated all the holidays together. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter. You name it we were in it together. Like my dad, my second dad, Frank, had a wicked sense of humor. He kept us laughing. A gifted storyteller of immense proportions.

He was also kind. One Christmas we were all together at our cabins at Rocky Point, Oregon (The Delongs and The Dahns each had their own cabin there). We talked Uncle Frank in to playing poker with us. Also like Dad, Frank was an outstanding poker player. I will tell you if they would had those million dollar poker tournaments back then Dad and Frank would win them hands down. Our families would have been millionaires. We started playing poker. Frank won the first hand. Then he didn't want to take advantage of us kids so he started to loss on purpose. Make that try to lose. The harder he tried to lose, the more he won. I don't think he ever lost a hand before all of us young ones decided we had enough and quit. Frank gave us all our money back. We learned three lessons that day. You can learn a lot from our elders. Be Kind. If you accidentally take advantage of someone give them their money back.

It wasn't the only lesson my Uncle Frank taught me. Every time I was around he taught me something. A man fun to be around and a teacher to behold.

The last time I saw my Uncle/Dad was two September's ago. He told me loved me like a son, that I was always his favorite. It was incredibly heartwarming for me. My dad was never one to hold his emotions back and in that visit Frank followed suit. I just knew that it would be the last time I would see my uncle. I wrote about the visit on my blog:

I'm sorry I was right. I would have loved to see him again.

You can shed tears that he is gone,
or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all he's left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see him,
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember only that he is gone,
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what he'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.


I have another angel watching over me. My Uncle Frank and his youngest daughter are together again. The first picture is of my Uncle Frank and my Aunt Velma. The second picture is my cousin Debbie and Myself. Peace is with them I know.


Lady DR said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your Uncle Frank, Bill. You've often mentioned him here. I hadn't realized it had been two years since they came to visit.

What wonderful memories and stories you have of him. I sincerely hope you'll make a copy of what you've shared with us and share it with his kids. These are the kinds of memories and comments that help us smile through the grief and keep the spirit of our loved one in our hearts.


dona said...

Hello Bill, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your Uncle Frank. Prayers go out to his family along with you & your mother.
What an awful few weeks you have had. I hope you know you are being thought of by many, and are feeling the love we are sending your way and it helps a bit with your grief. Thank you for the special memories you have shared with us, they should carry you a lifetime. It is so fortunate to have people such as this in our lives.

Mary Z said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, Bill. Hugs!

William J. said...


Frank left a legacy of stories. He will keep us laughing even after leaving this earth.

Thanks for the hugs. They were needed.


William J. said...

Hi Dona

Thank you for the kind words they are very much appreciated.

I am feeling the love of everyone and that is helping tremendously.

It is important to have a village to count on when you go through life. Ones that keep you laughing.
Ones that keep your grounded. Ones that you know are there.


William J. said...

Hi Mary Z

Thank you. Your words are needed and appreciated.