Monday, February 13, 2012

My Uncle Richard

My Uncle Richard was above all things, a good man. He was wonderful husband, a caring father, and a great friend. And as I learned with his passing, each person he came into contact with had a story of how he touched their lives either through example, a listening ear, or helping them with work that needed to be done. He always looked others in the eye and always listened to what they had to say. That time and attention is so precious in today's busy, over scheduled way of life.

Uncle Richard blessed the food and our marriage at our wedding reception. 

There are a few things that come to mind first when I think of my Uncle Richard, so I would like to take the time here to share them with others. First of all, he was my God Parent. If anything were to happen to my parents when I was a child, I was to go live with Aunt Patty and Uncle Richard. And as a child's mind can sometimes wonder into worry over security since we are so dependent on our parents, I have to say that knowing I belonged to him should a tragedy occur brought me great comfort on more than just a handful of nights.

My Uncle Richard was a place of rest for me. He always had a smile and a joke to make me laugh. And when Grandma's house got too hot at Thanksgiving and Christmas I could always step outside to the driveway in the back for a breath of fresh air and a minute of quiet time with my Uncle.

Diagnosed with cancer shortly after Kathleen was born, I am so thankful Uncle Richard and Aunt Patty came to visit and hold Kathleen in the hospital. It was an hour and a half drive for them to visit for just a couple hours. 

My Uncle Richard's marriage to my Aunt Patty was one to take notes from. They played and laughed and I have very vivid memories of being able to easily see their love for one another in those light hearted moments together. They were childhood sweethearts who met in the second grade and started dating in the sixth. Uncle Richard was the only person my Aunt Patty ever held hands with and kissed. That type of sweet sweet relationship is one in a million.

My Uncle Richard lived in a house full of women. With two beautiful daughters he knew how girls and women operated. And if you ever asked him if he wanted a boy, his answer was that he got exactly what he wanted. So that being said, a couple of my other vivid memories that come to mind first when thinking about Uncle Richard are times when he surprised me and decided to give me a hint or make a comment about my appearance. The first was when I was around 8 years old and he showed me how to push back my cuticles so that my fingernails looked better. It just seemed so out of place for him to be teaching me that - I'll never forget how he volunteered the information to me while we hung out in the driveway at his house in our usual spot. The second is a more recent memory from a couple years ago when he picked on me for always having a different hair style each time he saw me. See, the women in my Uncle's family have kept their hair styles the same for the past 20 years or so. They have all found a style the liked and stuck with it. I on the other hand like to change mine with each hair cut. My answer to him was, "That it's how I know I've gotten my money's worth!" This was right up his alley given he can pinch the pennies with the best of them. And finally, at my Great Aunt Mary's funeral in October after I put Kathleen in the car I walked to my Uncle's car near by to kiss him on the cheek, tell him I love him and to take care of himself. At this point he was fighting the cancer and we knew that time was short. As I walked back to my car he leaned out the window to tell me I was looking good. I knew he meant it in the context of being a new mom. It was just like my Uncle Richard to take a moment like that to still find a way to lift me up.

He was a good man, and I miss him.

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