Sometimes we plan things and despite everyone's best effort they change. While this can be frustrating, it can often have surprising results. Take my Mother's Day for instance- the plan was for my kids and my husband to spend the day preparing my new garden bed, and they had breakfast and dinner planned out so I could garden all day and not have to cook. It was a wonderful plan.
Saturday we found out that my husband's Uncle John, who has a pacemaker and has been on dialysis three times a day, had decided that he was tired and ready to stop fighting. He was in the hospital and his heart could stop in hours or days. We called my son who attends college in the city, and once he was able to get home we all climbed in my husband's truck and headed to the hospital, which was about two hours away. It wasn't the Mother's Day we had planned, but we were able to visit with John while he was awake and chatting with all of us about our lives and our plans. He hugged each one of us and told us he loved us before we left, which was a hard thing to do. I wouldn't have traded that time with him for anything.
Uncle John was the youngest in his family and was only 58. The doctors warned his kids that he would only live another year, but that was four years ago. His body was tired, and I think his soul was as well. Uncle John loved to chat with our boys, and always had a good word for all of us, along with a hug and a smile. I can't count how many times he brightened my day by just smiling and giving me a big hug when I was a bit down in the dumps.
Uncle John, in the picture above from a few years ago, loved making tamales with the Hyde family- it's something they started doing long before I married my husband. They make the dough from scratch, and grind roasted pork to place in the middle of the dough, all wrapped in a corn husk. It's a "by feel" recipe, and there is always a bit of "discussion" over how much seasoning to add to the dough and meat. I'm so glad I took pictures of the times we all gathered at my in-laws house to make tamales.
Uncle John died a week later after we visited him in the hospital, and it was a tough time for his family, especially his grandson who is 9 years old. When the minister asked if anyone wanted to say a few words, he ran up to the podium and told us how much he loved his grandpa and how he had been there for him all of his life. It was heartbreaking, yet precious.
This post has been waiting for me to finish it for a bit now. It was an emotional May with everything that was happening. We will all miss Uncle John, just as we still miss his wife, Aunt Marsha and his mom, Grandma Dorothy. I will always be thankful for their friendship, and the love they showed me during the last 25 years. All three of them took the time to learn that I was quiet when something was bothering me, and I knew when they asked me how I was doing they REALLY wanted to know. If I talked, they listened. If I needed a hug they gave me one.
I know they are at peace now, and while I'm grateful for that, I will never stop missing their hugs and smiles.