I Miss You, Uncle Don

Hope is alive, while we’re apart.

Only tears, speak from my heart.

Break the chains, that hold us down.

And we shall be, forever bound.

When I’m tired and weary,

And a long way from home,

I reach for Mother Mary,

And I shall not walk alone.

– Ben Harper

In a few weeks, another anniversary of my godfather’s passing will be upon my family and me.

I remember the day we found out that he had esophageal cancer. We all were so scared but hopeful that he would go through the treatment and beat the disease. At a few points it looked like he had, but it just kept coming back with a vengeance. The last time it came back, he decided to refuse anymore of the medicine. He had gone through so much chemotherapy and radiation at that point that he felt enough was enough. He wanted to live the last of his days free of the sickness that came along with the treatment.

But I try not to remember all of that. I always try to just remember him for the wonderful person that he was. He loved life and he definitely lived it to the fullest.

His standard greeting came with a big bear hug and booming voice that would yell, “Hey kiddo!” I miss being called that and I miss those hugs.

He was an avid skier, belonging to the Nomad’s ski club. He was even the president of it at two different times in his life.

He absolutely loved to fish. One time when I was kid, he brought a fresh catch back to my grandmother’s house with him. I remember him putting the fish in my face, trying to get me to give it a kiss. He was always a jokester like that.

Speaking of jokester, I also remember a time when I was about 4 or 5 years old and he told me that my tongue would turn black if I told a lie. I was clearly telling him some made-up story at the time while eating my Oreo cookies. He had me look at my tongue in the mirror. I never lied to him again.

He loved to cook and his favorite cuisine was always something with a lot of kick. He was constantly daring us to eat the hottest peppers that he kept in the kitchen for his next dish.

He was part of the Friday Night Winemakers club and would always bring us a bottle on special occasions. His Cabernet and Malbec were the best I have ever had.

He had a passion for boats and loved taking the family out for afternoon rides. The first time I ever went tubing was in his boat. The rope from the tube broke away and he drove off pretending to leave me out there.

He, my Aunt Debbie, and my cousin Donnie have celebrated Christmas Eve with my family for as long as I can remember. My mom makes her famous lasagna and always worries it will not be hot enough by the time we sit down to eat. He would always razz her about how cold it was. Although our long-standing tradition still lives on, Christmas Eve has never been the same since he’s been gone.

He was the kindest, most generous man around. He would not hesitate to give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.

It will be four years since he was taken from us and I still think about him and miss him terribly every day.

I love you so much Uncle Don. I know you are up in heaven, watching over all of us. You’re probably making everyone mouth-watering meals, delicious wines, and skiing and fishing your heart out.

I will never forget you as long as I walk this earth.

Until we meet again…


One of our last outings together before he found out he was sick.


A special bottle of his delicious wine.


My memory bear that I made out of one of his shirts.


9 thoughts on “I Miss You, Uncle Don

  1. Oh wow. Michelle. I haven’t needed the box of Kleenex much this month, but you have sure made up for that tonight! I feel how you ache for the loss of your Uncle Don and my heart breaks for you. No matter how many years go by, the pain really doesn’t go away, does it? Through your pen I feel the loss on this earth for Uncle Don, as well.


  2. I thought we weren’t going to do this today! This is such a sweet piece of writing for your uncle. I know you miss him. I feel like you picked out the perfect details about him to share with us in this piece. I’m glad you wrote this.


    • I wasn’t going to. But I had been contemplating it all day and when the Ben Harper song came on in Crystal’s room, as cheesy as it sounds, I sort of took it as a sign. The writing probably could have been better, but it’s still hard to think about so I sort of just flew through it.


  3. This was really sweet. He sounds like he was tons of fun. I feel like I made so many connections to my uncles. His sense of humor sounded like he was someone everyone wanted to be around.


  4. Michelle, I have goosebumps. Although I don’t have uncles that I am close to, he sounds so much like my brother. That “bear hug” and “kiddo”. The Oreo cookies…so funny! I can feel the love and admiration you have for him through your words. Hearing the song and writing wasn’t cheesy. He was speaking to you and he’s smiling with pride. A wonderful tribute to your Uncle Don.


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