My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Monday, June 17, 2013


Last night my Uncle Charles passed away.
Charles was our next door neighbor at some apartments where we lived when I was a toddler.
Oxford House apartments - now the location of the fifth runway at Hartsfield Airport.
I don't ever really remember him not being around.
My mom's younger sister lived with us (which I also don't remember) and had a baby, my cousin Kevin (who we call Cousin Ed, which is a long story).
Charles had a little boy, Andy (who now goes by Andrew and I always forget).
Linda and Charles got married and had Russell: his, hers and theirs.
I would say that my earliest memories are when they lived in Augusta and my big brother and I stayed with them for a week.
Five kids in a two bedroom apartment.... that would make an impact on anyone.
And then they moved to Drake's Landing subdivision off Highway 138.
My strongest memories from that house are when we tried to walk across the pond when it was frozen.
Ponds never freeze hard enough in Georgia for you to walk on.
And I remember there being a Farrah Fawcett poster in the dining room/office. You know, that iconic one?
Mostly I just remember Linda and Charles' house being a place with a lot of boys. Three boys. Who in the world can handle three little boys?
Me. Eventually. *laugh*
Pretty much any condition that I ever mocked in my life has befallen me.
And then at some point they moved to Ola which is a really nice trendy community now.
Back then it was country. Beyond country.
They lived in a tiny little house that they kept expanding and expanding and expanding until it was big enough for all of them.
Linda has a big personality. She's outspoken and outgoing and always has some interest in something that she wants to share with you.
And Uncle Charles... he just always had this complacent grin.
He was fairly quiet.
And calm.
And I know it's not possible but I can't remember a single time where he was angry.
I can't ever remember being intimidated by him... not that I'm a girl who scares easy but for every adult in your life that you're around any length of time, there comes a time when they reach a point of being louder than usual.
I don't remember him ever being angry or loud.
He was a plumber for most of my growing up years.
And then he and Linda bought a daycare in McDonough, Joshua's Classroom.
That's where Austin spent his Summers as a kid... with his Mawmaw... at the daycare.
Linda and Charles' grandson Devyn was Austin's best buddy - best cousins, although they're really 2nd cousins.
The two of them *ruled* the daycare. (Austin's term).
I don't even remember when they sold the daycare.
At some point, as happens when families grow and multiply, we did fewer and fewer things together.
Austin and I moved to Florida and then to the mountains and although he and Devyn spent a lot more time together, our extended family spent less time together.
Funny story... Cousin Kevin - "Cousin Ed" went to youth camp with us one Summer... and this ditzy girl (who is a precious, wonderful woman, she outgrew the ditzy) asked him, "Do you go by Matthew or Matt?" And he said, "Neither one, my name is Kevin". That still cracks me up.
Charles had esophageal cancer which spread. He spent many, many weeks in the hospital this Spring.
My mom spent as much time with him and Linda as she could. She's good that way.
Two weeks ago while we were here at the mountain house, relaxing and enjoying "our" retirement... mom got a call from Linda.
Mom knew it was time to go back to the southside of Atlanta to be available if she was needed.
Pop came up on Friday and they went back home on Saturday and she's been there ever since, doing whatever was needed.
Things got a little more desperate over the weekend and we knew it was close.
Mom wanted me to come home to stay with the dogs... I was worried about leaving the cats and the kid.
In a way... it was like managing the things she could when everything else was out of our control.
I felt a little stretched and conflicted... but in the end, it was ok that I decided to stay here until he passed.
Yesterday we knew it was the last day, in that way that you just know.
I fell asleep around 9pm and Austin woke me up at 10pm to tell me that Charles was gone.
I couldn't go back to sleep.
I ate the last of the lemon lush that we bought at the bakery on Saturday (omg! shortbread crust with a layer of cream cheese and then a lemony pudding and then whipped cream!) and finally got in bed with the Nook.
I'm reading Tim Tebow's book and although I adore that man, his book is a snooze-fest.
It worked. I went to sleep.
And then, twice during the night I heard Charles call my name. I know it's crazy. I'm just telling you what I heard.
I finally gave up on sleep at about 6am.
I went to the doctor this morning, drove home with another major dizzy spell and stopped by McDonalds for some lunch.
Walking in the door the bag split and french fries went everywhere and ... then while I was eating my chicken wrap it dripped sauce all over my favorite outfit.
I was frustrated and exhausted.
I went to sleep... slept for about two hours...
Tomorrow I'll head to the southside of town. The visitation is that evening, funeral on Wednesday.
My brother gets home from Kenya today and if he doesn't know yet, he'll find out then.
Daddy is preaching the funeral. Jim and Angie are singing.
Austin has decided not to go. He wants to be there for Devyn but he can't handle the emotion of it.
On Thursday me and mom and the dogs and Eddy, the ginger cat, will come back to the mountains.
And life will resume the same lazy Summertime/retirement/disability pace that we had been on two weeks ago.
Please keep us in your prayers.


Lea said...

I am very sorry to hear of your uncle's passing, my prayers are with you and your family!