Uncle Wally

January 12, 2009
By heather blohm, Louisville, KY

I can’t remember what he looked like or what his voice sounded like. It’s ironic how I can know somebody your whole life, but when they pass away you can’t remember the simple things. As time goes on, all you have left is the faint memory of times you shared with this person. What if you were never close to them as everyone thought, but when they died you missed them terribly? My uncle Wally and I had more of a love hate relationship.

My Uncle Wally always loved children, though as many times as they tried, he and my aunt could never have a baby. In December of my 5th grade year they had come to my house to announce they were considering adoption. At first I didn’t know how to take the news, but I figured that if there was one person to take a child in it would be him. July of 2002 they came back from the Ukraine with twins, a boy Samuel and a girl Grace. I have never seen so much love and compassion from a single person to two strangers they. He treated them as if he had known them his whole life.

He had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. He didn’t forget, but he would forgive. He also grew up with the love and faith of Jesus. Every Sunday he would drive his puke green station wagon to Panera Bread, holding his coffee mug in his right hand and supporting the same French looking beret on his bald head. Casually walking into the restaurant he would pull out the Bible and read it. He would always rush us out at 8:15 afraid we wouldn’t make it to the 9:00 service at Southeast, even though Panera Bread was a short 5 minute drive. Faith always came first in his life and he tried to live every aspect by his religion. He wouldn't even miss a day of church to go watch on e of my gymnastics meets. He brought me, as well as the rest of my family, to know Jesus, That was the most important thing uncle Wally ever taught me.

He had always been there for me. At the time I never realized it, but looking back now I can see all the things he did for me. Take the day I broke my arm for example. I was at my friends’ house swinging on the monkey bars. I thought I would be cool and show off my gymnastic skills, acting as if I was going to be the next Olympic star. Being the klutz I am, my hands slipped off while trying to flip and instead of grabbing the next bar I remember smashing into the ground and hearing nothing but my high pitched scream. I couldn’t walk because I was in excruciating pain of my bone coming out of my skin on my wrist. My friends’ parents had called my uncle Wally because they knew he was the only one home and he came and carried me all the way back to his house in his arms. He wasn’t trying to be a hero, but just the fact that he had carried me the whole way made me appreciate him more. And in the eyes of a 7-year-old he was a hero that day.

I remember the day I was told about his death. He had been in the hospital for a couple weeks because he was having lung problems. When my parents first told me all I could do was sit there and stare at them. I was only in the 6th grade. I had never received news like that so I wasn’t sure how to react. They could tell I was confused and I kind of sat there starring into my father’s eyes with a “deer in the headlights” type of look. They let me sit there a while and take it in. I felt like I was in a daze. How could someone in my family die so soon and so young? He was only 50, he had so much more life to live. I sat there and just let out a few tears because that’s all I knew to do. They had been crying so I guess I should have too. When I finally woke up from what seemed to be this dream of mine, I was at my friend Kaitlin’s house playing Mrs. Packman on the Nintendo 64. When Mrs. Packman fell off the cliff and died I felt the news of my Uncle Wally's death sink into my heart. That was the moment I broke down and cried hysterically.
I don’t know what had overcome me because honestly I never truly felt close to him. I always acted as if I was happy to be around him, but in all actuality I never really connected with him like people thought I did. When I was around him I put on a fake smile and always tried to avoid the hugs. So why would the death of someone I never wanted to be around, bring my world crashing down? To this day I still don’t understand why. I still don’t understand how someone can try to be a huge impact on your life and all you want to do is push them away. I don’t understand through everything he did for me, I never felt that connection. I guess I will never know why I felt awkward around him. It may be confusing, but I do miss him.

I cant give you a reason for why I pushed him away. You would think after everything I had said about him, I would be extremely close with him. For some reason it was completely opposite. I always put on this act as if I liked him when I truly didn't. Throughout the entirety of the piece I cant give one good reason of why I didn't like it, it was just a connection I guess I never had with him.
I always wonder how life would be different if he were still around or if we would ever get that true connection of family. Now that he is gone though, I do realize all the opportunities I let slip away. Its cliché, but the saying is true, you never realize what you have until it’s gone. Unfortunately I realized this a little too late.

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