Tuesday morning I got an urgent call from my youngest cousin. "I haven't spoken to my Daddy since Saturday," she said. "It's not like him... we speak every couple of days. Can you go check on him and let me know if he's okay?"
Then I called him. The phone went straight to voicemail. So I called my mom and his son. Neither had heard from him. Then I called him at work since I knew he should be there. They transferred me to his supervisor. She hadn't spoken to him in several days either and was worried about him. Especially considering he'd missed a couple of days and hadn't called in.
The only thing left to do was go to his house and make sure he was okay. But in my heart, I knew something was wrong. So I called a friend who asked if I wanted him to come with me. Without missing a beat I said, "Yes...please." Without missing a beat he said he was on his way.
As I pulled into the driveway behind my uncle's car, I knew but still hoped I was wrong. I opened the door, called his name, walked to his bedroom and saw him laying in bed, so I called him again hoping he was sleeping. But as I got closer, I knew he was gone. It looked like he just went to sleep and never woke up.
As I fell to the ground in the arms of my friend, I realized that my Uncle was gone. That sometime before I got there, he made his transition to whatever comes next. And my heart hurt.
Once I pulled myself together, I made the calls I needed to make, held my mother as she realized her baby brother was dead, held my cousin's hand as we walked into the room to say goodbye, and called my friends who were much more organized than me to help walk me through what to do next. They took over, called the fire department, the police, the mortuary. Helped us find important documents. But I felt my Uncle's spirit, too, trying to comfort me.
What you need to know about my Uncle is that he was is a beautiful spirit. A giving man - he wanted the best for his family. He wanted to make sure the family - me, my mom, his children, their mom, and his grandchildren - had everything we needed to be okay. He was a little ornery, well okay, alot ornery. And real. One of the most real people I've ever known. He was more than my Uncle, he was like my Father. He taught me how to fight, gave great piggy back rides, had an infectious laugh, a smile that lit up a room, and was the smartest man I knew (even though he didn't always see that in himself). And I miss him desperately.
The blessing is he's taken his place among the elders. He's become a spirit guide for me and the family. I miss his physical presence, but feel his spiritual presence everyday. For that I am grateful.
Thank you for being part of my life, thank you for watching out for me, and thank you for the lessons you taught me. I miss you Uncle Nate. And I love you.