Monday, January 3, 2011
Farewell Uncle Mike
An old fashioned word usually only seen in novels, but if I had to describe Uncle Mike in one word, this would be the one I'd use.
Uncle Mike is my husband's uncle, his mother's brother. A tall man in a family of short round people, he stood out, not just because of his height. I never got to see Uncle Mike at his own home. My impressions of him were at family gatherings. I'm sure there was a serious, studious side to him. He was after all, a husband, father and step father. He was a pilot, a job that was serious business, and one that requires intelligence. To me, an earthbound homebody with a cynical view of life, there was always an aura of electricity that surrounded Uncle Mike. He'd appear, bringing air and light with him. The feeling you get when you plug in the lights to a Christmas tree, when you throw open the windows to sun after days of rain, like dancing when no one was watching. His magical quality made him fascinating to children, and nobody was a stranger for long when he was around. He moved with the grace of a tap dancer, quick and precise. Then he'd breeze out just as quickly, off on another adventure.
After three tours of duty in Vietnam, Uncle Mike unwittingly brought back something nobody expected: many years later he was diagnosed with leukemia, from the exposure to Agent Orange when he was serving his country. He was able to beat the odds, not only surviving but living as the quintessential Uncle Mike long past the doctors predictions. Unfortunately, his body rejected the second bone marrow infusion and he lost the battle.
On behalf of his family and friends, I would like to thank the bone marrow donor for making it possible for us to be able to enjoy Uncle Mike for awhile longer. This was the greatest gift we could ask for.