Friday, February 28, 2014

Happy birthday Uncle Bill ...

Uncle Bill in 2008
I've been thinking of my Uncle Bill a lot this month.  Today would have been his 62nd birthday and I know he is being remembered by his wife, his family and his many friends with love.

In January of last year, he was planning to come to Florida for a visit.  About a week before his trip, he found out that the pain he had been having in his stomach was cancer.  In a matter of moments his trip was cancelled, chemo was scheduled, and his life was changed forever.  That February he married his long-time girlfriend, had surgery to remove the tumor, and celebrated his 61st birthday.  In March and April, he tried to take it easy, allow his body to heal and recover but he also made time for a quick honeymoon in Catalina.  In mid-April, he was able to return to work for a few hours a day.  He told me he looked forward to feeling better and getting back to his life.  For a while, I thought it would happen, but on June 2nd he passed away.

During those months, while in the midst of the battle for his life, he made it his mission to raise awareness about ALS in his San Diego community.  He personally contacted his local ALS Association (ALSA) president and got his philanthropy group, The Parrotheads (he was a big Jimmy Buffet fan), involved.  Thanks to his unwavering dedication, The Parrotheads added the ALSA to the groups they support with charitable donations (no small feat, I assure you).  Did I mention he did all of this of his own volition while fighting cancer?! A true act of love and heroism in my book!

I was fortunate to have spent a couple of years living near him in San Diego before either of us knew the horrible but different deadly illnesses we would face.  We took the opportunity to share meals and family time together and I am left with many happy memories...and a hero!

Happy birthday Uncle Bill and thank you!

2 comments:

  1. What a remarkable man, it is no wonder why you thought of him as your Hero. I know you are thankful for all your memories you shared with him.
    Wishing him a Heavenly Happy Birthday~

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much for writing this beautiful tribute to your uncle and my husband. He is my hero too! I learned so much from Bill and I share it every chance I get. He showed me that all that truly matters is the love we have for one another, how to appreciate this life no matter the trials, and do our very best to stay positive, happy and peaceful. I practice that everyday. Also, I will never forget how much he loved rain. The first rainy day of the season would delight him and during the past four years he would stand and watch the rain fall over Mission Valley, San Diego. Well, this year we have gone day after day without rain. Our normal hill of weeds (that he would battle with a weed whacker every year) has been dried up and brown. On Friday, February 28 the first storm of the year hit and it was a soaker. I felt like it was a gift from Bill to us on his Birthday, so we wouldn't forget him. I stood looking out over the valley with the rain coming down and sang Happy Birthday Bill. There is nothing like sitting at home on a rainy day, listening to Jimmy Buffett and knowing in my heart of hearts that Uncle Bill is peaceful and happy and loves us all so very much. I wish you the very best and think of you often. Please know that the part of him that cared and loved you, will always be there. He touched the lives of many people in San Diego as you touch the lives and hearts of many in your own way. Keep on writing beautiful niece! Love, Aunt Lynda

    ReplyDelete