My Brave Uncle

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July 9, 2013

I remember the day my dad walked through my door, he sat down on the edge of my bed and held my foot, he looked at me and said, "Something is wrong with Uncle Larry, we don't know what it is quite yet, but its serious." He kissed my head and left for Michigan the next morning. When he came home we learned that my uncle had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, specifically Glioblastoma. I knew what the news meant, I had done a project on glioblastomas in my Anatomy class, I knew I was going to lose my uncle. Almost exactly a year later I came down stairs and my dad's eyes were full of tears (my uncle had been put in hospice care a week earlier after 3 unsuccessful surgeries) my dad held me in his chest and said, "I'm going to Michigan." My heart sank, I knew the end was coming but I never believed it would come so soon. In the midst of a snow storm at 10:00am February 6, 2013 we got the call. My mom came in, and said, "He's gone" in that split second my world came crashing down, he was gone, the man who played mario kart with me, the man who taught me how to play football (and how to do the best touch down dances,) the man who made my aunt smile everyday, my uncle was gone. At his funeral it became so real, the priest's homily didn't even begin to capture the enormity of kindness and strength my uncle possessed, I sobbed outside the church for over an hour not because he was gone, but because I felt that I didn't appreciate him as much as I should of. Even now months later when I look at his picture it doesn't register that I will never see him again, that he is gone. I don't know if it ever will. My uncle was an amazing man, he grew up with a broken family, but he worked everyday tirelessly to improve himself, he went to college and married my aunt (who he called the completing piece of his puzzle) and received his PhD at age 50, he was a like a brother to my father and was like a third son to my grandparents. He was kind, private but loving, warm, caring, obsessed with hot sauce, called Doritos "nachos", was a die hard Jets fan, a loving husband, and my loving uncle. He left this world too young at age 53, he had so much to offer this world that will never come to be. So I have made it my mission in life to continue on his memory, in everything I do I will attempt to embody him and his undying spirit, I am so fortunate that I got to spend 18 years with my uncle, and it makes me cry to think he will never get to see me go through life, but I will forever cherish all of the touch down dances, video game face offs, deep discussions over "nachos", and amazing memories we shared together. Brain cancer may have ended my uncle's physical life, but as long as I live his memory will never fade.