Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Uncle Bubba

My mom is the oldest of 4 children. Her brother, whom I have only ever known as (Uncle) Bubba, passed away tonight. I have sat down and started several posts over the last few months about him, but for some reason I never was able to post them. I never even saved them. I just couldn't. I don't know why, but it just didn't feel right.

But, now, as I sit and (while listening to Monk and Neagle) write, my heart is still so heavy and I just really don't know what to write, but yet, know I must.

Tonight was Ladies Night Out. I got a phone call right before I was suppose to leave saying that the nurse didn't think he'd make it through the night. So, when I got a call from my dad in the middle of dinner, I was quite certain I knew the words he was about to say. As my eyes, for one of the first times in this whole crazy mess, welled with tears and they began to fall...I felt a lot pain, heartache, uneasy stomach, lost.

Let me give you some background: the story I have tried numerous times to write already. My uncle has (to be put nicely) not had the greatest life. Growing up he was in lots of trouble and didn't know, nor care to know, the Lord at all. He was nice, but really rough around the edges, if you will. He was a drinker, a smoker, a drug addict, a rebel, and for a living he was a wrecker-driver. If you know much about that profession, it can get a little crazy and wild...he fit right in! He was my family though and so, while we were very different, I've always loved him, but yet, been distant from him and his wife and daughters. We did the family things, but never spoke outside of that really (my mom did though).

Anyway, about a year and a half ago, he was diagnosed with lymphoma and wasn't given a good prognosis on life expectancy at all. He, however, proved to be a fighter...in a lot of ways. His wife (my aunt, Trish) was diagnosed with cancer of the liver within a few months of his diagnosis. Their lives were forever changed from that moment forward. Within in a few months, they were both given less than a year to live and in and out of treatments and the hospital constantly.

Somehow in all of that mess, they heard the sweet and tender voice of Christ. It is such a sweet miracle to our family that they have come to know the Lord, Savior, Healer and Comforter. His life was eternally changed from this point forward! That is the only thing I am clinging to right now. It makes it "okay," not less painful or sorrowful for anyone, but it helps me. His life has definitely affected others since his salvation. He began going to church regularly, he brought his family and they came to know Christ. (isn't that awesome?) I know that his story has been told and re-told. He did it. He lived and breathed the joy of the Lord even in the midst of his severe pain and trials. You could see it on his face. You could see how much "lighter" he was... That brought me to tears when I was visiting last...

It wasn't that long ago that we were joking and laughing and praising the Lord together in church. It wasn't that long ago...at all. Now, of course, I feel as if I missed my opportunity to finally get to know my uncle. I have been sheltered for so long from knowing anything really about them, and now I want to and can't. I have so many questions I would LOVE to ask him...all unanswered, unasked.

I have said all along that if he got cancer to meet Jesus then it was worth it...that is so easy to say from my healthy non-cancerous body I know, but man, in my selfishness, my immaturity, I wish that God would have just healed him then...not taken him. But what a better place to be than at the feet of Jesus and in no pain and no discomfort. I know that he wouldn't want to be back with us---because I know heaven is THAT wonderful. But that is still hard...and I know that has to be harder for those that are much closer to him than I was: his wife, my daughters, his granddaughter, my grandma, his siblings...and the list goes on!

Death is hard. It isn't ever easy for those of us left here.

I love my Uncle Bubba and I care so much about his hurting family. I hate it that they are hurting...so much! I hate it even more that only God and time can heal that and I can't--I am so a fixer...and I can't do anything about it, and that is hard.

I am not sure what the next few days hold, but I know at some point I am going to Houston to be there to support my mom and grandma and aunt and cousins...and of course all the other lives he touched. I am proud to call him brother in Christ...that alone at this moment brings the tears of joy.


Becky said...

I'm so sorry - glad I got to talk to you tonight! I will be praying for your family.

Room for Grace said...

Hi, I clicked over here from Lots of Scotts and read this first entry about your uncle. Many things you said resonated with me. My dad has terminal cancer and your post made me really think about the day I get "the call". I needed to think about it, even though is heart wrenching. What you said about not being able to ask him anything now...I've got things I need to ask, though we are close, there are still things...
Thanks for sharing this.
I am so sorry for your loss.

Maria said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes... perhaps it is my own continued grieving coming to the surface, but know that we are here for you in any way you need.

Also, no matter how well you know someone, when they are gone, there are always unanswered questions and lessons to be learned. I knew my grandpa quite well, yet I learned so much from my family while I was home...and there are STILL questions.

I'm sorry for your loss and know that you and your family are in my prayers.

Marci H said...

Wow Courtney, hearing your uncle's story sounded so similiar to my dad's story. He never knew Jesus until he was diagnosed with lymphoma either. He also only lived 1 1/2 years after diagnosis and I have said the same things; "if dad had to get cancer to get saved" then I guess cancer was a blessing. That was hard for me to come to grips with because I didn't want him to lose his earthly life- - - -but I KNOW he has eternal life now.

I will be thinking and praying for your family over the next few days as you all mourn the loss of your dear uncle.

texastanya said...

Courtney - I am so sorry for your loss. While losing him is painful, I know you are comforted to know that he is in the arms of Jesus now.
Isn't our God amazing? That he would use your uncle's cancer to bring him and his family to a place where they could meet Jesus.
Praying for you and yours.

khowze said...

I'm so sorry Courtney. I know you are hurting..I will pray for you and your family. Let me know if there is anything else you need.

Dalene said...

I'm so sorry for your pain! It's really difficult to watch those we love suffer physical AND spiritual pain, and you obviously loved your unle a lot and felt that for him! I keep asking myself: "How do people do this without the Lord?" There are a couple of people waiting in heaven that I've already blocked off a decade or so to spend with them in my "eternal daytimer!"

Vickie said...

just logged on for the first time in a while. I am so sorry to hear about your uncle. I had the same type of uncle...he came to know the Lord while in jail at about age 45. When he got our he was different, just like you shared about your uncle. I don't understand why God treats dying unbelievers the same as those who have been christians for a long time, but I am SO glad he does, because now I know I will have eternity to get to know my Uncle Johnny.

My prayers are with you and your family.