I know today is supposed to be Thankful Thursday.... but we've just had another loss in our family that I just have to stop & talk about.
My dad's only brother passed away on Tuesday.
After nearly 4 years of fighting pancreatic cancer, he finally is at rest & peace & his body is completely healed.
I just can't believe it. I never would have dreamed that my dad & my uncle - brothers - would pass away within 8 weeks of each other.
Growing up, my uncle Timmie was the "wild child" - the rebel of the family. I mean, he had hair down to his butt, rode a motorcycle & sported some tattoos. & all that made him super cool to me & my brother.
I can remember spending the night at my grandmothers & he'd come in late & I'd love to sit & just watch him make something to eat. I know I was the pesky little niece that wouldnt go away. There's a picture of me sitting on his lap when I'm probably about 6 in my grandmother's kitchen that I loved. I wish I could find that picture. It's the height of the 70's & he's got that long flowing rebel black hair.
|When Timmie was introducing his girlfriend to the family... the beginning of a love story
It's funny because he & my dad, brothers, always just seemed so different in life. But I look at my brother & myself & see such polar opposites as well - but you always know that your sibling is there for you & supports you & loves you no matter what.
My dad was always so worried about Timmie when he got this cancer diagnosis... & when dad was in the hospital over the past few years, Timmie found a way to make it up to sit with him as well.
One of the last visits they had together, they had talked about what each of them wanted at their funerals. One brother trying to top each other. It had become a funny kind of game.... & somehow it's all become a nightmare of a reality.
When Timmie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it was a shock. We had lived through a loss of this same kind of cancer with my grandmother - their mother. It took her down in 2 weeks. That was devastating in itself. But Timmie is a Wood. Wood men dont give in easily... & Timmie didn't.
He fought this battle with such strength. He would leave his chemo treatments every week with his wife & they'd travel somewhere & wait for the sickness to pass & then adventure out.
Timmie was all about adventure. Being the cool uncle, I saw that about him. He loved everything snakes & Indians. Looking for arrow heads on his hikes. Hiking was a huge passion of his in his adult years. In his younger years, he was all about sharks & sailing on his sailboat & water skiing & learning the newest skiing tricks - which did involve a lot of standing on people's shoulders.
|This trail, he told me, in the Smokies was his favorite one to hike every time
|Making it up to this high elevation even during his chemo treatments
He was also so talented. He always was an artist & with my brother having that same skill in his blood, the two of them would talk about drawings & pencils & charcoals & paints & technique. Timmie also had such an artist flair with his lettering. He used to do so much calligraphy growing up. He even told me recently that he loved that I was taking up that skill.
I know my brother & my uncle were always the match growing up, even resembling one another in Tony's younger years, but I made my come back in the past few years with my love of photography. I know that spark was lit by Timmie as I grew up. He always had a camera in his hand. At every Christmas, we knew Timmie was going to bring in a tripod & lighting equipment & we'd see pop of flashes all night long.
|One of the pics he took with all the grandkids & our grandparents
Please note my brother really does exist & this may be the only picture you'll see of him :)
He took that love of photography on his hikes & caught the most incredible shots capturing beautiful moments.
|One of his pictures
& yep... that's a fish in those claws
But I know for Timmie - the most beautiful moments were with his family. He loved his wife more than anything in this world. Followed up by his daughters... & then grandchildren. To see Timmie as a grandfather was always funny to me seeing him come from the motorcycle riding, trouble making days. Love will do that to someone.
I ache for his family - because sadly, we know what that loss feels like with loosing dad. It's hollow - empty - unreal & devastating. If you are a praying person, please lift up his wife Debora & his daughters Jasmine & Shannon.
So we'll be headed to another funeral home with our family tomorrow & another funeral to follow... another goodbye.... & praying God will be merciful & give us a little breather soon.
I just keep seeing Timmie rushing up to the hospital when he got the news about dad. Poor guy left his own chemo treatment to sit, literally for HOURS, next to his brother. He even had to leave because he didnt have his pain medicine & then things took a turn for dad & Timmie & his family rushed back to sit for MORE hours. He'd just sit next to dad & he'd rub dad's chest. & when Timmie left that night, he talked to us reminding us we were all going to be in this place in the future. Knocking at the door of heaven.
& at the graveside of dad's funeral, Timmie was the last person to say goodbye to dad before they closed his casket & he once again rub dad's chest & he said, "Bye Bubbers"... broke my heart. The bond of brothers.
Timmie knew he was going to be passing soon & we talked about where he was going. I think those near 4 years of battling this disease gave him a new relationship with God. It drew him closer to the One he knew would help him through it all & Timmie knew he wanted to be whole & with loved ones again. I know where Timmie is at right now.... & I told Timmie to be sure to punch my dad for me for leaving so fast without saying goodbye. He promised me he would.
Brothers can get away with stuff like that.
So until we're all together again.... we just keep Pressing on.
I have fought the good fight .... I have finished the race...
I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7