I decided to cut out and save this gift tag when I was a teenager. I used to carry it around in my wallet. It now sits in my jewelry box. Way back when, I somehow knew its value. I just didn’t know that he wouldn’t continue to be a part of my life.
It’s weird how things happen.
We called him Uncle Ross. He taught my brother and I how to water ski. Our height measurements were etched on a wall in his cabin. Ross taught me how to blow bubbles and I thought it was cool that he could whistle loudly with two fingers in his mouth. He taught us inappropriate songs with lyrics I will not share with my own kids 🙂 And when I think of happy moments from my childhood, they often include Ross.
The summer I left for university, he committed suicide in his backyard.
Ross had been diagnosed with cancer and had received radiation treatment. His boys would have been in their early 30s at the time. I remember lots of questions and a range of emotions from friends and family.
I wasn’t angry at him. I didn’t know what he was experiencing. I was just sad, for him and his family. I pictured him in his final moments and wished that things could have been different for everyone.
I still miss him and think about how much fun we would all have together.