As I mentioned about a month ago my Uncle (Uncle Perrin) suffered a massive stroke and we had to take him off life support. He finally passed away almost a whole week later. I don’t know how familiar you all are with life support, but when they take you off it they take you off everything. Food. Water. But not meds. They still give you pain killers (thank God) and anti-anxiety medicine. So sadly, when people say that something is worse than death… this was one of those times.
And I will mention during that time I was floored by the strength and wisdom of my little cousin, who is almost seventeen and amazing. Literally, amazing.
But this post is about my Uncle. My Dad’s older brother. And this is a happy post. All about my favorite memories of him. There are some memories of him annoying the hell out of me, but those are for later.
Uncle Perrin was the guy who, when I was sixteen, decided to teach me how to drive a stick shift by sitting me in the passenger’s side of the car and explaining the inner workings of the engine and transmission. I remember sitting there staring at him, watching him use these wild hand gestures to explain how things would click together and thinking “wow, I really can tune people out.” He was like that. Uncle Perrin could talk for FOREVER. Another memory of him is talking to him on the phone at my family’s farm house. It’s kind-a old school out there (far far away from civilization) and we have a phone with a cord. Mind blowing I know. So, during this intense thunderstorm Uncle Perrin calls the farm house. I answer and listen to him for a few minutes before saying, “Hey can we call you back? There’s a really bad thunderstorm and there’s a lot of lightening. I think I should get off the phone….” Did he stop talking? No. Did I get slightly electrocuted through the phone? Yes.
One of my absolute FAVORITE memories is when I graduated from high school. Mom and Dad threw this big(ish) party for me and invited family and family friends. It was so much fun. And there was Uncle Perrin, on the outskirts of the crowd hanging out in his black t-shirt, black shorts, black socks, and black flip-flops. Just doing his thing. Later, it was Uncle Perrin and Dad who cornered me and told me that if I didn’t go to the party with my graduating class that they were going to force me in the car and drive me there.
Another memory is when my college roommate and I went to spend MLK weekend (of freshman year) with Uncle Perrin and family. Uncle Perrin took us jogging on the mountain trails (and by us I mean Uncle Perrin and my roomie jogged and I huffed and puffed behind them) and then later took us to the only bar in town where roomie and me drank lemonade out of a bottle and we all played darts.
Lastly, and most importantly, Uncle Perrin gave a toast at my wedding a few months back. He had already suffered a serious stroke six months before and hadn’t really been his old self for a while after that. But at my wedding, he got up in front of everyone and raised a glass to me and my husband. Just thinking about it makes me so happy that I tear up a bit.
One last memory is one that’s I’ve written about and posted here before. It’s supposed to be a bit of humorous writing but I don’t really think it comes off funny at all. It’s from when my grandfather died. If you want, you can read it here.
And there are lots of awesome things about Uncle Perrin that I didn’t witness but knew about. How after his first round of strokes he was up and walking 3 weeks before the doctors predicted (only a few days after his stroke) that he had an enlarged heart (and was a very kind and loving person so that’s symbolically appropriate) and even though he was on disability he was enrolled back in school so he could learn a new skill set to try and get back in the work force and be there for his family.
That’s how awesome of a man my Uncle Perrin is. Because my cousin is right, Uncle Perrin isn’t gone. Not really. He lives on in our memories.