My Uncle Jimmy passed away. Even as I type it, I still can't believe it.
When I was in Cleveland last month, I went with my parents to see Uncle Jimmy. We were listening to John Blanche express his anger toward that lady in the state below Ohio who won't let Amanda & Eve or Adam & Steve get married. Uncle Jimmy made a comment to give my dad a hard time and then gave me a look with his eyebrows raised while nodding and tilting his head toward my dad. He gave me that look many times through the years. It was his way of telling me, "Hey, did you see what I did there? I'm messing with your dad and he hasn't even realized it." Jim "The Truck Driver" was the goofball sidekick to his serious, older brother, John "From Euclid."*
I will miss that goofball.
This post has been on my mind all week. I just haven't been able to find the words to explain the sense of loss. Uncle Jimmy (not Uncle Jim or Uncle James because that would sound weird coming out of my mouth) was fun and silly and sweet and a big teddy bear. He and his family lived near ours so he wasn't a virtual stranger to me.
He wasn't one of those relatives who leaves you uncomfortable with the idea of having to be hugged. I never had to be forced to hug him; my parents didn't have to prod me. Sitting on his lap as a child felt like home -- comfortable, safe, cozy, and warm. I was never, even at 40 years of age, annoyed when he called me, "Honey." It wasn't the same vibe as when some waitress in a diner whom I've never seen says it. It was Uncle Jimmy, it was okay.
I'm not sure how things will be when I return to CLE next week for his memorial service. I know things will never be the same. I know seeing my cousins who are now "orphans" in their 40s will be rough. The idea of seeing my dad breaks my heart. Uncle Jimmy was his younger brother, his only sibling. They were not only close in age, but they were close in each others hearts. I know my dad is feeling this more than he admitted to me on the phone. So, as tough as it will be, I know I have to be there, not only for my own mourning, but for his and for my cousins.
I wish I knew the words to really express what my Uncle Jimmy meant to me. Alas, I do not. So, here I will leave you with a picture which captures his essence for me:
* The descriptions for my dad and my uncle that were used on a radio show when they called-in to answer trivia questions.