Uncle Art

Today is my Uncle Art's 70th birthday. Unfortunately, he didn't see more than 55 years on this Earth, but he is never far from my thoughts.
I think about him a lot, and I went to my 'box of memories' to dig out an old journal where I remember writing a poem for him. I was a teenager in high school, and I'm not saying I wrote life-altering poetry, but it was definitely a common form of expression for me back in the day. A couple of things to note in the first 2 lines - Amber is purposefully referenced; this is probably enormously obvious to family as this was his daughter's name whom he clearly loved more than anything in the wold. Less obvious is 'Tearing', a word I specifically chose because of how similar it was to his wife Terri's name.  
With Amber Flames 
Tearing Through My Veins
I Wake To Face
A Lifetime Erased
Trivialities Prevail
In a World of Empty Sanctities
Where We Pray to No Avail
And Cry On Bloody Knees
A Memory of Past and Gone
The Rest Must Carry On
To Not Forget
We Must Regret
The Words That Went Unsaid
The Tears I Dread to Shed
The Time I Could've Been There
The People Left to Care
When All Hope Disappears 
My Arms Embrace Fear
I Cry For the Unknown
And All That Goes Unshown
And My Soul Aches
Heavy and Sad
As My Heart Breaks
I Reach for the End

The downside of keeping a journal is you can instantaneously make yourself sad. I flipped around a few pages and read about my last visit to Uncle Art. I'm not certain of his exact diagnosis, but he had a brain tumor and his health rapidly declined once we found out about his condition. I went with my brother, and Uncle Art took my hand and hugged me after we walked in his room. I wasn't there long before I just started crying and wasn't able to stop - to the point where the nurse told me I might upset him if I wasn't able to calm down. It was so, so hard to see him like this. We weren't able to visit long since he tired easily.  He took my brother's hand, and he drifted off to sleep as we ended our visit. 
I don't think the entry I read was dated, but it wasn't too long after that visit when he passed away. When I would visit my Gramma on a daily basis in high school, I would see his dog, Bandit. I remember talking to Bandit regularly [everyone talks to animals, right?] and reassuring him that Uncle Art would be home soon. But he never came home, and I always felt sad for Bandit for not getting to see him again.  

It's going on 15 years since Uncle Art's been gone, but he's definitely one of those family members that leaves a lasting impact. I have so many memories of him, and he played such a huge part in shaping my childhood. I think of him so frequently and wonder how our relationship would be now that I'm an adult myself. I'd love to go to his favorite bar with him and catch him up on all the Stephen King novels he's missed.  

Happy 70th Birthday, Uncle Art. You definitely left us way too soon.  


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