Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Celebrating Uncle Ken

On Saturday we traveled back to Chattanooga for the funeral of Josh's Uncle Ken. Although goodbyes are never easy, it was a beautiful service that truly celebrated his life. If I can tell you a bit about Uncle Ken, it's that he was full of life. I know that's something that a lot of people say, but he really brought a light with him wherever he went. He always had a smile on his face and a laugh wasn't far behind.

Although there are several hilarious moments to recall, I'll share one story I remember fondly. On a somewhat recent (in the last 5 years) family celebration, we were gathered at Josh's aunt and uncle's house. It was either New Year's Eve or July 4th because fireworks were involved. (Although with Josh's family sometimes a holiday wasn't even necessary to pull out the pyrotechnics. Afterall, Josh's parents and uncle did grow up in Alabama.) Anyway, they have this (foreign to me) tradition of throwing the fireworks at each other.

I know this was before we had kids, because I would never have let Jack witness his daddy making such poor decisions. Anyway, it was always in good fun. This particular time, Josh managed to toss one into the front pocket of Uncle Ken's denim shirt. Thankfully, he was fine and got the fire out quickly. We laughed hysterically when Ken later posed for a photo in his shirt with a big hole where the front pocket once was. You could see straight through to his undershirt.

Months later, Josh received a package in the mail. Uncle Ken had taken that shirt and trimmed it to fit into a frame and pinned a 1st place blue ribbon on it. That's just how Uncle Ken was. He always kept the joke going. Of course, he'll be missed here on earth, but the horrific cancer had taken away his ability to enjoy life. So, I'm thankful his suffering has ended. Mostly, because I know he's in a better place living life to the fullest. And, the best parts of him will live on in his family and friends. Thanks, Uncle Ken, for sharing your humor and love of life with us all!

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