Today I'm missing his memorial service in Baltimore; a week from now I'll be attending his funeral mass and burial at home.
Uncle Bill loved Hawaii. He went there every year after Christmas for a month... I know, nice right?! He always brought us back nice things - pineapple, candy, Hawaiian shirts - and he brought me a pearl pendant necklace and a sarong. You could tell he was bummed he couldn't go this year because of chemo treatments, but he was definitely looking forward to going back again.
Uncle Bill was a really smart guy. Our family loves board games, and pretty much everyone remembers Uncle Bill beating them... and not just close calls either, he would really kick your butt. He had an extremely extensive vocabulary. He was just a really smart guy- with a really sarcastic sense of humor!
Ever since I can remember, Uncle Bill got me and my brother puzzles for Christmas. They were always hard puzzles too - double sided, 3-D, impossible shapes and patterns. One year he got me an octagon-shaped puzzle that featured a red background covered in dalmatian dogs. We returned the favor by trying to find a puzzle for him every year - this picture features "The World's Most Difficult Puzzle" - and wrapping them with duct tape, yarn, wire... which never really stumped him, but we tried. He returned the favor in kind, as once we turned 13 we were deemed too old for presents and got cards with money instead - but Uncle Bill wouldn't settle for giving us money in a card. He would deliver it in puzzle cases, a tank full of sand, or at the end of a scavenger hunt. Every year all of us cousins would wait to see what kind of challenge Uncle Bill had for us next.
When we were little we used to go visit Uncle Bill's house in Maryland, to play in his pool and hot tub, visit the Aquarium and Inner Harbor, and play Duck Hunt on his original Nintendo. I also remember watching musicals like State Fair and South Pacific at his house. There was a Pepperidge Farm outlet nearby, so we always had Goldfish crackers and Milano cookies, and for some reason I remember drinking Coke out of chilled glasses filled with ice.
Uncle Bill was special to me because he was my godfather, and he always treated me like I was special. When I was two, he gave me a red corvette for my birthday. (He did not give me an adult-sized one when I turned 16, no matter how much I pleaded.)
I really miss Uncle Bill, and I'm not sure exactly when it's going to hit me when he's gone. I was in the hospital room when he died, surrounded by his family and close friends, but it still doesn't feel real to me. I feel like he's still going to turn up and laugh and beat everyone at Scattergories next Thanksgiving, and he'll be first in line to polka and do the Dollar Dance at my wedding. I just can't believe that he's gone.
I know my blog's been a little silent lately, and this is why...
Just too sad.
Thanks again for all of your prayers over the past month - they meant the world to me and my family, and I know that he's not suffering anymore, and he's probably chilling out in the heavenly version of Hawaii (probably the same only with fewer oceanfront megahotels) and driving a brand new tricked-out BMW.
I just miss him.
Hug your loved ones extra tight --