The worst part of life is when you lose someone you love so dearly. The minute you heard the sad news, you were stunned, shocked, sadden and didn't want to believe what you just heard. Then, you realized it was real ... the person you love and care, had gone forever. It took another minute or two before you started to cry. And at that moment, while you were crying, all the good memories about you and that person came rushing through your brain. They all were so fresh and clear and you tried to remember them all and you promised to yourself that you would never ever forget any single moments you had with that person.
This morning I learned the sad news about my beloved uncle. He died ... just like that he died. And I was kicking myself for not going out to see him when I found out that he was sick. Now it's all too late; he's gone.
The first time I met Uncle Jeff was 25 years ago during our first trip to the U.S. I met him briefly during our visit to Chicago. He's the husband of my mom's good friend. I felt that he's a kind man with lots of jokes who always smiled. He always winked at us when he made a joke. Though we couldn't speak much English then, he made us feel so comfortable and welcomed.
We saw him again couple times in Thailand while he was visiting with Aunt Jeepy and couple times when we visited the U.S. Then my sister and I went to school in IL and we became closer and closer to Uncle Jeff and Aunt Jeepy. I remember during our first year in the U.S., Uncle Jeff called us and told us that we could come to his house anytime if we felt we needed to. And every holiday season, he would make sure we knew that we were welcomed at his house during the school break. We were touched. We were lucky to be in a foreign land but had a family to go home to.
After I graduated, I went back to Thailand to work. I saw Uncle Jeff when he came to visit Thailand. Then I moved back to the U.S. When I had my girls and my mom came to stay with me, Uncle Jeff drove from Chicago with his wife and her friends to visit my mom and my babies. It was a long drive but he was willing to do it so they could see us. We kept in touch mostly during Christmas time. I would send him a Christmas card with our children’s photo and he would send a card complimenting about our children; how much they had grown.
I’m so lucky to see him last year. I had been to Chicago many times on a business trip but I didn’t have a chance to see him. But last year, I was so determined to see him and I called at the last minute, right before I left for Chicago. He was so happy to hear from me and offered to pick me up. He did pick me up and then arranged for a surprise get-together lunch with uncles and aunties that I hadn’t seen for over 10 years! I had a really good time. Then he dropped me off at the hotel and that’s the last time I saw him.
I have become a very independent person; I traveled the world on business trips by myself all the time. That night Uncle Jeff called me at 8 p.m. making sure I was alright, I had dinner and I locked the door. I almost cried … apart from my dad, not many people care about me the way he did.
Have you ever met someone who makes you feel secure? There were two people who made me feel that way; my dad and Uncle Jeff. I lost my dad almost 5 years ago and I lost Uncle Jeff yesterday.
Uncle Jeff, I love you so much and I will miss you dearly. You had touched me in so many ways. No words could explain how I feel right now. I will miss your voice, your hugs, your winks and your sense of humors. Most of all, I will miss receiving your Christmas card during the holidays. I’m so sorry I didn’t get to see you. I should have just gone to see you last month … I should have done it. I’m so sorry.
I know you are in the better place now. Rest in peace, Uncle Jeff. You will always be in my heart.