Friday, November 5, 2010

30 days of Thanksgiving...Day 4&5

Today and Yesterday I am super thankful for family and true friends...
I experienced a death in the family that was not only very unexpected but also very hard to deal with. No death is easy to handle, especially when it's a family member but this one was especially hard. My mom's youngest brother is mentally and physically handicapped. Growing up my mama always instilled in me that although he struggled with these different abilities, he was still my uncle and I needed to love him just as I would any other family member. So, that is what I have done my whole life. Uncle LeRoy never spoke a word to me, and never sat next to me for more than 10 minutes at a time (unless his head was being rubbed just like you would a small child). However, whenever I would show up at his house (he lived in a group home) you could see the happiness in his face and he would come grab my hand and place it on his head (for you to rub his head). My grandpa and my mom were the only members of the family that would visit him (as most didn't understand him) and after both of them passed, I made it more of a point to be there to visit with him more often. Some say that mentally handicap people don't understand you and don't know that your there to visit "them" but, I would have to disagree. I learned A LOT from my visits with Uncle LeRoy. He didn't have to worry about what bills would or wouldn't be paid with a paycheck, he didn't care if you were white, black, or hispanic. He didn't care how much you weighed or if you were pretty or not...however, Uncle LeRoy did have unconditional love. He always had a hug for you, and would smile so big when Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy was on. If there was a show that he didn't like you would know...If you asked him what his favorite sport was, he would take you to his room and show you his plush football and baseball. Could he communicate like you and I? Nope, he sure couldn't, but that didn't make him less least not to me.

After Grandpa passed in 2004, "guardianship" of my Uncle was "given" to another Uncle. That Uncle thought so little of Uncle LeRoy and obviously others in the family that we were not notified of his passing until almost 2 weeks later. I could get into all the details but quite honestly it just brings out anger and hurt that I am trying so hard to deal with. Why not give me the chance to say goodbye? There was plenty of time. Why not give Uncle LeRoy the chance to pass with some family by his side? I could care less about will's, money and anything else that went along with Grandpa's passing...I just loved Uncle LeRoy unconditionally just like he loved me. To me he was NOT an animal that belonged in a cage as you said! I have to remember that he is no longer in pain and he is with the 2 people that loved and adored him the most...his mama (my grandma) and his sister (my mama).
So, you are probably wondering how in the world I can be thankful for family right now...but I am. My family has helped me grieve all this. They have reminded me that LeRoy is so happy right now. They are helping me try and understand how someone can be so selfish to do this to someone...especially their own family members. That part I may never understand because I can't be so heartless...My mama and daddy raised me better than that.
I am also thankful to my hubby and my friends for letting me cry, and then yell, and then cry some more. I wish this pain would go away but it truly helps to have those that will listen. And lastly, but certainly not least, I'm thankful for Uncle LeRoy. Although some didn't understand you...I did. Thank you for showing me how to appreciate the simple things in life. Thank you for loving me unconditionally and I'm so sorry I couldn't be with you on your last days. I'm so thankful for your nurses that were there, rubbing your head till the very end.


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