Wednesday, April 27, 2016

It's not goodbye, but it might be farewell

From left to right, that's my late mom, my late father, my Aunt Gail, and her husband, my mom's brother, Uncle Bob.

Bob's had serious health issues for the past few years and he's been living with a weak heart for most all of his adult life, it's been weak enough to keep him from working since his early 30's, I think. He had a bear of a time getting the disability benefits he'd worked for but he finally got them and he and Gail have made the best of a bad situation for many years.  Now it looks like his time on earth may be drawing to a close due to his weak heart and bad kidneys.  He is and always will be a hell of a guy.

When I was a kid in Detroit, we had nothing.  We lived in the projects and got welfare, food stamps, and every other government benefit we could get.  Every month we ran out of food before we ran out of month.  Mom couldn't work due to her bad heart and because she had to take care of us five kids.  Dad worked off and on when he was well enough and out of the mental hospital, he suffered with clinical depression and schizophrenia all his adult life, so we had very little money.  Most of my mom's family didn't like my dad, especially my maternal grandfather, he was one of those old guys who thought mental illness was a scam.  But one of the few people on my mom's side of the family who did things for us was Uncle Bob.  He bought us books, took us kids to the movies, to the lake, to his bachelor pad, and out to eat on occasion.  He was a fun guy who always seemed to make sure that we had some fun and weren't left out of things.  He always bought us the best presents at Christmas time when he was working and he never treated us like we were second class citizens.  He was a warm guy and a great uncle to me when I was a kid.

We drifted apart as I got older and forged my life but thanks to his wife Gail who stood by him during every crisis, we never stayed out of touch for too long.  When the internet exploded and email became ubiquitous, she and I stayed in touch more than we ever had.  She's kept me informed of his gradual decline and even though I hate it for her and him, it's been nice to be a part of their circle.

He's not dead yet but it doesn't look good for him.  I hope he can live on forever but one thing life taught me early on is that no one is getting out of this world alive and that we can go at any time.  I may not talk to him all the time or correspond with him directly, but I'll sure miss him when he goes.  He was a giant figure to me when I was just a snotty nosed smart aleck kid who farted all the time and I'll always remember him that way.  Smiling, laughing, being nice to us kids who didn't have shit.  
Thanks for all you did Uncle Bob.  I wish you and Gail all the best for all time.


Brewella Deville said...

I'm sorry you're losing someone who sounds like a decent man, Dr. Monkey

gmb said...

I'm glad you had your Uncle Bob to look after you. My mother's youngest brother and sister made my life so much better.