Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Uncle Wes

Sometimes things happen that I don't really want to write about, but feel like I need to.  This is one of those times.  My uncle died a few days ago.  He had been diagnosed with cancer in September, and it just progressed faster than anyone expected.  I think I'm still in shock a little bit.  I'm sure I will fall apart when I see my dad.

I've been blessed so far in life to not lose many people who I was close to.  My grandpas both died when I was in high school.  That was sad, but they had both been very old and declining in health for so long.  This is different.  This is my dad's little brother.  When I last saw him, there was no thought in my mind that it would be the last time I'd see him.

As one does, I've been thinking about my Uncle a lot over the past few days.  So, here are a few of my favorite memories of this wonderful man.

Uncle Wes and me when I was probably 8, and shortly after that, I decided pictures should all be cropped into awkward shapes, removing the background .  
When I was a kid, Uncle Wes and I wrote letters back and forth.  I have no idea how this started, only that it meant the world to me.  I remember checking the mail and being SO EXCITED whenever I got a new letter, and then carefully crafting my reply.  A few years ago, he stopped by our house when he was driving through and had a binder of all my letters.  I looked through them and didn't understand half of what I was talking about.  We were obviously joking back and forth quite a bit.  I wished I still had his letters so we could line them up and follow the conversation.

I also remember a few times where we got to talk on the phone.  This was back when long distance calls were expensive, so a rare treat for a very chatty little girl.  He had gotten a new car, which I was pronouncing phonetically, Ply-mouth. This cracked him up, and I think of it whenever I see a Plymouth, which is rare since they haven't made any for 15 years!  

Around that same time, I renamed him Uncle Prickle Beard, because well, he had a prickly beard, and it tickled, and I thought it was hilarious.  Then I got older and was completely embarrassed that I had ever called him that, but he would still sign notes or emails as "UPB."

Wes was one of "the little boys," and we loved to commiserate about the injustices suffered by the younger children of the family.  Whenever people talk about the little ones being spoiled, I have stories to tell.  

He had a uniquely witty way of talking and writing.  My dad would pick up this tendency when they were together and it always made me smile.  For example, at the 2005 family reunion, he organized a Scrabble tournament.  After a close championship game, Wes accidentally won.  But he had a prize for the winner, which he didn't want to accept for himself.  He declared me the winner, "via a minimal deficit, but having attained a superior average score per move."  He was tricky like that.  

Most importantly, he loved Jesus and wanted everyone else to, too.  I'm happy that he is in heaven.  But I'm very sad that he isn't with us anymore.  


  1. I am so sorry to hear this! It's even more heartbreaking when our loved ones leave before their time. Thinking and praying for you and your family!

  2. What a lovely and heartfelt tribute! I'm so sorry for your and your family's loss, Andi. Your uncle sounded like an awesome and unique individual. I will be sending positive thoughts and prayers your way!

  3. So sorry to hear this, Andi, but I LOVE how you took this post to share your favorite memories of him. I know its hard to hold onto those when losing someone is so sad, but it really does seem like that's how they'd want to be remembered, right? Thinking about you!

  4. I wish I had the words to make it all okay, but unfortunately we know that's not the way it works. It is so lovely that you have these great memories of him. He sounds like he was a special person, and an awesome uncle. Internet hugs <3

    1. (also, I love that you cut your photos like that -- I used to as well so I could make collages)

  5. I'm so sorry to hear about your uncle, I can tell he was very special to you. It's wonderful that you have so many great memories of him.

  6. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved Uncle Wes. Losing a family member is so, so hard, especially when it is somewhat unexpected like this. I hope that you have been able to celebrate your uncle's life and take some comfort in the memories you have of him. He sure sounded like a wonderful man. Sending you all my love.