This is what I like to affectionately call my Uncle Larry. I’m currently in Long Beach, CA visiting him. I haven’t seen him in almost a year. It’s been that long since I’ve spoken to him, but it’s been much longer since he’s spoken to me. I haven’t heard his voice since about July or so of 2006. I miss hearing his voice. I miss his Larryisms. I miss hugging him and feeling his scruffy beard. That’s why I call him Uncle Hairball. I miss so many things about him. I wish just one more time I could see him get mad at someone or something. I wish just one more time I could hear him say that he’ll be here in 5 minutes which is 2 hours in Uncle Larry time. I wish that I could go to Stagecoach one more time and have breakfast with him. Maybe one day I will I just wish I knew when that would be. Afterall, I was promised full restoration of his mindy, body, and soul. I’m just waiting on God and sometimes that is the hardest thing I’ve had to do.
On August 28, 2006, my cell phone rang. Not unsual. I was at work, but my brother was calling me which I thought was shocking considering he knew I was at work. I almost didn’t answer it and sometimes I wish I didn’t. However I picked up the phone happy to talk to my brother. That quickly changed when I heard him say my name. My brother rarely says my name if only to call me Audge or some other “affectionate” name. When I heard him say my name I instantly started shaking and then he told me what I wish I could never hear again.
“Audra, Uncle Larry had an accident.” You could hear his chin quivering. He was struggling to tell me something even he couldn’t quite comprehend at the moment. He was desperately trying to keep it together as I fell apart at work in front of all my coworkers. Uncle Larry had been working on a tile roof somwhere in Valencia, CA. He was on a ladder on the tile roof of a 2 story home and it somehow slipped and he fell to the ground. I’m not even sure of the accuracy of this story, but I didn’t care. He didn’t know all the details, but the doctors weren’t sure if Uncle Larry would make it. We hung up and I crumbled. My coworkers were right there trying to figure out what was going on. I wasn’t making any sense as I was trying to tell them what happened through my sobs. I quickly picked up the phone to call my husband of 5 months and tell him the bad news. My coworker did it for me since I couldn’t even speak and I was shaking uncontrollably. My work wanted to send me home but I wouldn’t go. What could I do at home? I was so far away from my uncle and I wanted to be there so badly.
At the end of my work day I went home and fell a part. I believe this is the first time I screamed at God. I remember crying and trying to figure out why this would happen to my uncle. Hadn’t he already been through enough? I was sobbing and sobbing. I finally screamed at the top of my lungs “WHY”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As I threw myself over the couch. Brandon grabbed me by the waist and just held me. I was on the phone back and forth with my mom and other family members trying to figure out if I should fly to Valencia, CA from Oregon. I remember sitting on my bed and struggling with what was happening. I don’t think I’ve ever struggled so much with God then at this time in my life. I prayed and cried and prayed some more. And almost like a light turning on I distinctly heard God say that he would restore my uncle. Without a doubt! I can’t say that my tears stopped and I jumped for joy, but there was some peace if only for those few minutes. I booked a flight to Burbank, CA that night as the family was told it was best to get everyone there possible to say their goodbyes. This felt like a slap in the face since it felt like practically seconds before that my aunt Liz (his wife) had died of breast cancer. I flew out the next morning to be with my family and say my goodbyes to my uncle.
It’s now April 2012 and my uncle is alive. He didn’t pass away. Even though the doctors were certain that he would. He’s managed to progress very slowly. He’s in a coma. It’ll be six years in August. I guess there are mulitple levels of coma patients and I don’t know which my uncle is in. He is mildly responsive. Mostly, he lies in his hospital bed in the sub-acute care facility that he lives in. He has a feeding tube and a trache. There are many more details to this story which I don’t have the emotional strength to get into. I went to see him today by myself. Without my mom, grandma, aunt, or my little Goose. I just needed time alone with my uncle. Time to cry and tell him that I love him and miss him. Time to tell him that his great nephew would love for him to get out of that bed and play with him. That he would LOVE LOVE my son! Then I just put my head on his arm, the arm that I held as he walked me down the aisle on my wedding day, and cried. I remember those arms used to pick me up when I was a little girl and call me a sack of tomatas. I miss everything about him, and yet I was sitting next to him and holding him. I’m crying as I write this post.
I struggle with this entire situation. I don’t know what to think anymore. I feel like he’s in limbo. Like his family is in limbo. I know that God promised me that he would fully restore my uncle and I know that my God is able. BUT WHEN, GOD!?!?!?! It’s been nearly six years and in that time a lifetime has passed. I want my uncle back. I don’t understand why this is happening. Will he be like this till God decides to take him home, and if so what was the purpose. Why?!?!? What was the point? The funny thing or ironic thing is that my son was born 4 years to the day and practically to the hour of my uncle’s accident. Is it strange that one of the happiest days of my life can be the same as one of the saddest in my life?
I don’t know what else to say. Yes, I struggle with God in this situation. No, this does not make me turn from God. It certainly shakes my faith up a bit. I question the purpose of this situation. I may never know why and that bothers me. I will always cry when I see my uncle in that hospital bed barely a fraction of the man he used to be. I’m also looking forward to the day that God follows through on his promise and has my uncle Larry sitting up in his bed wondering where the heck his boots are so he can get out of there.
I love you Uncle Hairball!!! It was good seeing you!