I Miss You, Dear Uncle

2014 has been a rough year for me. I was feeling very pumped up and ready to Go when the year started, as my husband and I had just moved into town and life had started to get better. Less lonely, less of a struggle. But from then on it just went downhill. Don’t get me wrong, my life is good. I have a loving husband, a fluffy best friend and the sun is shining on me. But the universe has been throwing challenges my way lately. It started out with an old friend of mine passing away, and it hit me hard. I fought the emotions and came back.. Only to wake up last Saturday, to the news that my beloved uncle had passed away.

Today I broke down in a way I have never broken down before. Today I lost my uncle. He has been one of the most important people in my life. We shared countless days, weeks, months together throughout the years – always full of adventures, laughter and love. Uncle, I am thankful for every single one of the moments we got to share. For all the love and support you have given me since the day I was born. Today I cry, for you and the ones you leave behind. For your daughter and son, for your wife, for your parents, your sister and your friends. I will cherish them and all the memories I have of you till the day I die. Maybe one day I will see you again, and if I do.. Can we please have just one more snowball fight? Love, forever.

My dear uncle.

He was a huge part of my life, especially when growing up. As my mom’s baby brother, he was 14 years old the day I was born, and he quickly chose me as the apple of his eye. Every time we would come visit him (and my grandparents) in Norway, I would be the first person he ran to. And once he had picked me up in his arms, we rarely parted (well, until it was time for us to return to our home in Sweden). My uncle was a volley boll player and a lover of all things nature. I know that he was a bit disappointed (not really, he just would’ve preferred me playing volley ball but honestly.. I just didn’t have the height!) when I chose to play basketball instead of volley ball but that didn’t stop him from constantly cheering me on from near and afar.

Oh, the adventures we had together!

The times were many when my uncle and I headed out for our own adventures. Just him and I and nature. That time when I was 13 and we went for a backcountry mountain bike tour. 5 days of pure bliss on mountain paths, with camping and yummy food in the tent at night (we had to hide from the giant swarms of mosquitos), lots of laughter and great chats. Hours of yatzee playing in the mountain cabin and always always smiles. ALL the times when we threw on our skis and went cross country skiing, taking short breaks for impromptu (friendly) snowball fights. That time when he brought me and my grandparents on a road trip, aiming for Italy but ending in Austria due to a car crash in Germany (crazy drivers in Hamburg, I tell you!) and due to that running out of time. That snowball fight in the Alps July 2005, where he accidentally threw an ICEball in my eye. I was so pissed, he was so painfully regretful (I forgave him!). The, what seemed like never-ending, laughter when we watched my grandmother finish up a bottle of wine at 7am, trying to get the very last drips out of it before throwing it away and hitting the road back up north through Germany.

I could go on and on and on and on.. My uncle was my best adult friend when I grew up, from the very time when I was born he played a huge role in my life. He was.. One of my big heroes.

My uncle.. He was an active, healthy father of two. A loving husband. Just a wonderful man.

And then, Saturday, his life suddenly ended. Last weekend he had a guy trip with his best friend and their sons in the Norwegian mountains. As the supportive father my uncle was, he had been doing a lot of downhill skiing (his son, my cousin, is a serious downhill skier), but he had been longing so much to go for a cross country skiing excursion with the guys. So off they went, and I’m sure my uncle was ALL smiles.. Until he fell over. His heart suddenly stopped, and there was nothing nobody could do.

So here we are. The ones he left behind. The ones who loved him dearly for the wonderful, supportive, amazing person he was.

I am in greater pain then maybe ever before. The massive waves of grief that are washing over me are almost unbearable. I do my best to smile, but most smiles really are just shadows of real smiles. I think about my grandparents who have lost their baby boy, my mother who has lost her best friend and brother, my cousins and their mom, my brothers who have lost their uncle just like me… And I feel their pain. Added to mine. I can’t stand not being with them, holding them tight.

I miss my uncle. And I miss every single one of those close to me, the ones who I so often take for granted, but that I love unconditionally and never want to part from.

I admit that I STILL, days after this happened, am waiting for someone to call and tell me that it was all a joke. That he’s still alive, happily cross country skiing in the beautiful snowy Norwegian mountains. I am in denial.

But every day that passes, is one day more without signs of him waking up. I mean, he really is gone.. There won’t be any phone call changing this reality. I will be with my family next week, and I will hold them like I have never held them before.

I will keep crying, for who knows how long, but I will never ever forget my uncle. He will live with me through the many wonderful memories I have of him, and through his family.

Rest in peace, dear uncle. I am so thankful for everything you gave me, for every moment we had together, and for all the sunshine you have brought to so many people around you.

When I see you again there will be snowball fights and laughter. And many many big hugs.