I sat and I watched his weathered yet skilled hands curve a sheet of saran wrap around the edges of a makeshift frame cut from cardboard, then, marker in hand, he drew a squiggle here, and a squiggle there on the clear plastic wrap. These lines looked like nonsense framed carefully in its cardboard surrounds. He then repeated this process, frame after frame, a pull of saran wrap, a swish with his maker creating perfect squiggles, then tapped it atop the last cardboard piece. My 10 year old brain was a mixture of amazement, impatience, and confusion. What were these hands of my uncle, whom I adore, doing? Then he was finished. He held up this now large stack of cardboard framed saran wrap squiggles and I saw it. He had created a 3D painting/drawing of sorts of a house and garden, piece by piece, squiggle by squiggle. In his mind he saw how each of these seemingly unrelated layers of squiggles would come together and create something beautiful. It was this moment that i knew, yes, although this man is family by marriage, somehow he is blood of my blood. I mean I love my parents and all but they have not an artistic bone in their bodies so somehow this artist of a man gave it to me. Yes I know it.
To this day I think about this time, like many before where I got to sit with my uncle David, and just be amazed. He can do anything. Fix anything. Make absolutely anything. He is an artist, and a craftsman with endless talent. But he is also a kind heart with a deep but soft voice. He is every mans friend, yet a simple guy to please. There is little a golf course or walk won't fix... In fact when I was younger I was a tomboy and lived for the days where Uncle David would take me on walks with their then dog- Toby, a gorgeous border collie with too many brains for his own good. He would play games with us, and if it was Pictionary he would swiftly win, and if it was BUZZ (a game played on the TV) he would surly win that too. But it was ok- to be with him, in his light was and is a joy, even when that meant losing to him, Yes, I think of these days often, and smile because I know that not many have the honor of having such amazing people to call family.
I also remember sitting down and hearing Uncle David and auntie were having another baby! Oh gosh I was so excited... I love this family so. And then the news got better. They decided to name her... Nicole. I can cry now thinking about how much of an honor this is. I love this family of mine. About a year later, I stood with my Aunt and Uncle as they not only Christened baby Nicole, but they also Christened me. We shared a cake and everything. It was pretty fabulous.
And now, I remember the hole plunging through my stomach, the tears burning my eyes as if made from acid as I heard the news. Terminal brain cancer they said. Surly this could not be about David. Uncle David has never had a cold, has never taken a day off work, can still outrun the neighborhood boys, and beats them every year at the summer gala races. Uncle David who's weathered hands lead to strong arms and an even stronger body, molded from the many years of home building that he has not only done, but made a living and business doing.
I do not claim to understand why this is happening. Why I am losing one of the few here on this earth that I love. The pain for me is agony, but the pain I feel for my beautiful aunt and two children is beyond words.
So why is today a day to be thankful, with so much sadness? Well today is fathers day, and today is a day I can say to my Dad that I love him. Today i am thankful he is not only here, but healthy, happy and as wonderful as ever. Today is a day to be thankful for anyone special in your life that you have here to hold, and a day to remember all those you love. I am thankful for the time I have spent with my wonderful family, and for the time I am going to spend with them also in the upcoming weeks.
So I am ending this uncharacteristically personal and long post with this... Today I am grounded in the reminder of what matters most, but also I am reminded that i am a human. In that I ask for grace compassion and forgiveness. Grace in my slow emails, compassion if my mind falls elsewhere, and forgiveness if I burst out in random tears. I promise to you, my lovely clients I will guard your wedding experience and joy with all my heart and will take care of you, and my family I promise I am here WITH you in this too. But if I fail to show both of these things properly, know I am sorry, and I do care- and yes, I am here you you too.