When I think of my uncle, I won’t remember hospital gowns or wheelchairs. I won’t picture call buttons or IV bags. I won’t look back on chemo or nursing homes. I won’t think of words like “ataxia” and “metastasized”, because that is not who he was.
When I think of my uncle, I will remember him showing up at my dorm during my freshman year of college. He took me to the North End for pizza and on a tour of the city he knew so well, making sure to use his “curtesy arrow” along the way. We came back and he fixed my DVD player that had been acting up for months, in about 2 minutes, before giving me a bootleg copy of Oceans Eleven with Chinese subtitles that he had found at the “transfer station”.
When I think of my uncle, I will picture “the van” pulling up my street shortly after my mom and I had moved. We told him we had a lot of stuff to get rid of, and of course, he was happy to help up bring it to the dump. We piled the bags in the car and set off for Lincoln, dropping our trash and taking home some treasure.
When I think of my uncle, I will look back on Saturday mornings at the shop with him and my dad. There was always something wicked cool for me to watch him fix and fiddle with, and after that I could play Ski Free for hours on his computer. Usually a pizza or a cheeseburger would show up at some point.
When I think of my uncle, I will think of words like “tour guide” and “spontaneous adventure”. He took my dad and I on a spontaneous adventure when I was 6 or 7. We went into Boston to see the ducks from Make Way For Ducklings, and ride the swan boats. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world to be spending the day with two men that I loved so much.
When I think of my uncle, I will remember his ideas and the way he would do anything for anyone. I will picture him as I knew him, always curious, always ready to show people a new way of doing things. I will look back and see his smile, hear his laugh. When I think of my uncle, I will think of words like “inventive”, and “selfless” because that is who he was.