Uncle Richard can make anyone laugh. He always makes silly little comments that will take you a few seconds to catch onto, and then you will find yourself rolling on the floor, laughing, while he simply stands, amused by your reaction. He is the one who will tell a joke and then observe everyone else laughing at it - but he never cracks a smile himself. Inside though, he's bursting with joy.
Was bursting with joy, that is.
My great-uncle Richard died today. He was someone I wasn't very close to in person, but he was always close to my heart. I never knew him extremely well, but the few times we did spend together were some of the most special memories of my life. He was always happy, and he always had something uplifting and funny to say. He could make a random stranger on the street smile if he so wished. His life was always about serving others - very rarely did he think of only himself.
A few weeks ago, I told you about my grandparents' 50th anniversary party. Uncle Richard was my grandmother's brother - and he surprised her by coming. He had told her he wouldn't be able to make it, but he showed up, and I have never seen Mamaw so happy. He truly made the party for her, and the rest of us. It was the greatest surprise of the evening, and it is even more special now that he's gone (That was the last time any of us saw him). I think the Lord knew his time was coming, and He blessed us all with that one last chance to spend time with him. Thinking back, I wish that I had spent even more time with him. Now that he's gone, there is so much I would have loved to ask him and talk to him about that, for now, I simply have to keep to myself. In my life, I have been very blessed and have not had to experience death very often. I think the death of my great-uncle has impacted me the most. You always hear people say that when someone dies, they wish they could go back and change things, or make more of an effort. I never understood that until now. I knew Uncle Richard, but I wish I knew him even more. He was a wonderful man, and someone who left a beautiful mark on my life, despite the few moments we spent together.
Thank you, Uncle Richard, for teaching me that laughter is a wonderful thing ... especially in the silence of pain. While it is sad to see you go, we all know that you would never wish us to mourn for you - but rather to rejoice in the time we spent together and in the times we can look forward to spending with you in heaven. Your joy has brought this family through so much, and it is clear that you were a wonderful little brother to my grandmother. You have truly touched us all.
P.S. Please, everyone pray for my grandmother. She is taking this the hardest of all. As I said, Uncle Richard touched my life so much, and I barely knew him. I can only imagine what an impact he had on his sister.