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Another Storm, Another Loss

May 2, 2017

I mentioned last week that my mid-thirties had been a bit like a never ending hurricane season. One MAJOR thing after another… for myself and my friends who are in their mid-thirties, just dealing with hard things… time after time. It becomes so crazy that sometimes it seems like the crazy is the new normal.

 

BUDDY1

Part of this for me goes to the downward health spiral of my Grandma Pat and her death this past December. There will be a future blog, or 5, on the impact and aftermath of that experience. She passed away on December 24th and we didn’t have the funeral until March 24th… 3 months to the day after she died. Then last Monday, the day after my birthday, and 4 months to the day that we lost her, we lost her brother. Buddy was her only brother and he was an amazing uncle. He was only 71…. which was way too soon.

As anyone who follows this blog knows, I live in South Carolina. Many of my family live here. My Uncle and his wife live in Nashville, TN and had come to Hilton Head on vacation. He passed away while on vacation. He had been ill for several months and it looks like he just passed away from a heart attack while he slept.

Needless to say, we’re all sad and in shock. The whole thing is a bit of a hot mess…. I mean, they were on VACATION. His wife was in no position to drive back to TN, so my cousin had to arrange a flight from Savannah. My Dad and I then needed to go down and get their car, clean out the vacation rental, get it back to our town and so on. Stress on top of sadness.

The funeral was last week in in TN, and I couldn’t make it up in time. Honestly, the whole week was nuts. He passed away Monday, his wife went back to TN on Tuesday, we went and got the stuff on Wednesday and then the visitation was Thursday, funeral Friday. I wasn’t going to get there for the funeral. There is a plan to do a memorial service and the burial in SC. So at least those of us in SC can say our final goodbyes then.

Buddy was an awesome man. I’ve known him for my entire life, but my first memory of him is when I was 9 or so. I walked into my Grandmother’s house and he was sitting and talking with her in the front room. When he stood up to hug me, I just remember thinking he was the tallest man I’d even seen. He was well over 6’2, so it is not a surprise I thought he was a giant. But even beyond that, he just had this presence that commanded a room. He was funny, opinionated, loyal and so smart. He and my Grandma Pat had STRONG opinions on politics that were the opposite of what the other thought. It was highly entertaining to watch them debate. They were siblings and best friends. He understood overcoming both tragedy and and illness. He helped other people. Loved animals. When I think of a stereotypical Southern guy… someone who liked being outside, riding horses, fishing, exploring, cheering on his favorite football team, and such… I think of him. He was all of those things and he was wonderful. He was part of the first generation of my family who graduated from our alma mater, I was the third  generation. He wore his class ring EVERYDAY and it stuck in my head. I was so thrilled when I got mine in college. As my grandmother’s health declined in the last three years, he and I spent a lot of time working together to make decisions and help her. It was rough, but it was helpful to have someone to go through it all with.

BUDDYANDPAT1

Buddy and my Grandma Pat 7 or so years ago

The last conversation I had with him was about a month ago. I knew he wasn’t doing great, and I didn’t think we’d have him with us for a lot of years, but I thought we would get longer than we did. I honestly think that the loss of my grandmother was just one of the last straws… he helped her, did all that he could… it was time to go be with her, his parents and his youngest son again. Even knowing that, and being sad for us, my heart truly breaks for his wife, son and grandsons. They were all a unit, and my heart breaks for them.

So, the adventures of being thirtysomething continue and it is hard. Hoping for the storms to pass soon and a nice period of calm to come.

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