My uncle is gone.
More than just my uncle. My dad's best friend. My grandparents baby. My aunt's husband. A man who started a tradition in our town that has turned into the biggest event in the history of our 200 person community. A "reunion" for every class, from every school, for every person. When a village of 186 people turns into a party for 1200. A big party, where we play wiffleball and talk about the past year, and forget our troubles for two days.
He started it. 20 years ago. As a 21 year old man, boy. A vision, a dream, that became a reality.
We watched a slideshow of the past 41 years today. There were pictures of him as a baby, a teen, at his wedding. But the pictures that I love, that show me who he was and what made him happy? They were the pictures from this one particular weekend. He smiled. A real smile.
This one particular weekend? It's in August.
This year, our family, our community, will mourn the loss of my uncle during this festival. At all times, we will miss him, we will grieve, but this weekend, this one particular weekend, will be hard. Very hard.
And yet. I feel that God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that my family would need joy in August. He knew we would have loved joy in February, but we'll need joy in August. Oh yes, we will need joy.
And we will have it.
Even though it will be missing an uncle, a friend, a brother, a husband, a son. We will have joy.
She will be our joy.
(She already is.)