It's funny how with cancer, you watch your loved one slowly decline, gradually preparing you both for what is imminently ahead. It almost tricks you into thinking that it will be easier to say goodbye when the time comes. Last night, I learned again that this is not the case.
The world lost one of the greatest souls ever to walk this green earth and I lost my Uncle Joe. I already miss his laugh, the distinctive way he'd my name whenever I saw him "Triiiiish", the way he could tease you, yet always made sure you were in on the joke.
I remember one year at the Classic, I had forgotten shoes for Saturdays dinner and having just got my license, my mom gave me some cash and the keys and let me take the car to Marshall. I thought that I was big stuff driving back with the windows down, radio blaring and driving faster than fast. What do ya know... lights flash behind me and I'm issued a ticket for doing 70 in a 55. I had to tell my parents when I got back and apparently word got out because at the big dinner, in front of 170+ family, Joe was doing his welcome speech when he paused. "So, I hear we've got a Mario Andretti in the family." I looked around thinking that someone had decided to become a professional racecar driver or something when I heard, "Trish! Stand on up!" The cat (or my lead foot) was out of the bag. The room was hootin' and hollerin' and it may sound weird, but it made me feel special. Joe had a knack for that. No matter the size of the crowd or what occasion it may be, he knew how to include everybody. He could make the young shy kid feel like the star, even if just for a moment. He touched everybody.
I miss you dearly, Joe and will love you forever.