I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. — Sir Winston Churchill
This last Easter Sunday, March 31st, my great uncle, a pillar of the Teeny family, Daniel David Teeny, passed away.
I had known “Uncle Dan” since before I knew how to tie my shoes—and I’m talking about Velcro here. In fact, my middle name was selected after him.
He introduced me to a future lover: lemon meringue pie. He taught me the finer points of firing a shotgun (though either I didn’t listen well or he played a practical joke, because my aim is mediocre at best). And he demonstrated firsthand why goats make terrible pets. Seriously, they will eat anything.
But over the last few days, recalling any kind of memory about him would sting my eyes with tears and sap the will from my legs.
When someone like that, someone you’re used to talking on the phone with or visiting when you have the chance, passes away, it’s hard to believe they’re really gone. It’s hard to believe that you’ll never be able to have a cup of frozen yogurt with him or hear him tell the stories of his motorcycle trip across the country.
In a way, you just convince yourself that he’s gone on vacation, that in a few weeks, maybe a month, he’ll come right on back and you’ll see him again. There’s no other way to deal with it in the beginning.
I was fortunate enough to see my Uncle Dan the day before he passed, but nonetheless I regret that I wasn’t there to give that final goodbye. To hold his hand, look him in the eye, and say thank you—thank you for everything he had done in shaping me.
But in the end, I have to understand that he’s in a better place. Instead of regretting all the things I didn’t do with him, I must remember all the wonderful things I did. I must remind myself, that I have never known someone with so much love, so much life, so much wisdom, and I must be thankful that I was a part of it.
Hopefully, they get internet in heaven, so Uncle Dan can read this post and know I still miss him. Though I can’t imagine what else they’d be doing up there. He’s in paradise, so clearly my blog must be like the weekly paper up there.