Sunday, November 20, 2011

Uncle Dale

This week I am grateful for eternal families and the plan of salvation. My dear Uncle Dale passed away on November 11th. He was 84 and sick, so the news of his death didn't come as a surprise. Even so, it's not easy to come to terms with the fact that someone you love has passed away. It truly is the atonement that has helped me cope with his passing. Knowing that his time on earth was nothing more than a fraction of his life. Knowing that I will be able to see my sweet uncle, with my other family, again in the afterlife. How grateful I am for a loving Heavenly Father that understood love and families, and provided a way to make them eternal.

I wish I could express exactly how my heart feels about Uncle Dale. My mother's parents died when I was very young, too young to recollect any memories of them. Uncle Dale and Aunt Lois understood this and filled the void I would otherwise have. They stepped in as my grandparents and treated me as if I were one of their own grandchildren. I have many fond memories of Uncle Dale.

Uncle Dale and me, 1988.

Many summer vacations at their cabin in the Uinta Mountains of Wyoming.

My week visit alone to the cabin and their home in Green River, Wyoming in 1988 when I wasn't quite six.

My visit with my cousins to their home in Thermopolis, Wyoming in 1995 when I was 12.

Uncle Dale and Aunt Lois's visit when I lived in Chicago, 2001.

Our lunch date at Little America when I was passing through on my move to Oregon, 2006.

The thousands of griddle cakes Uncle Dale cooked on an open fire.

The blue jumpsuit he always wore.

The way he always sang.

His smile.

His giant bear hugs.

Uncle Dale with my cousin Collette's kids. I love the smile on his face.

Uncle Dale had a way of making everyone he met and knew feel special. I know that every grandchild thought they were his favorite. He made me feel the same way; I felt like I was his favorite. He always called me "English" (derived from Brittany - Great Britain - England - English). He could light up a room simply by walking into it. He had an unwavering testimony of the gospel. He had an infinite love for my aunt.

I received a letter from Uncle Dale last December that I have cherished ever since. My aunt had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's for a handful of years and the effects of the disease were transparent. Even so, Uncle Dale met this adversity with a positive attitude. The following is an excerpt from the letter he wrote me, describing his feelings for Aunt Lois:

"I am thinking of moving her to another location closer to where I live... I love her so much so maybe I can spend more time with her also. She is doing amazingly well. She knows me and calls me by name. We told the beautician not to color her hair and it has come in the prettiest gray. Not white gray but gray gray, it is so pretty and shinny. It just enhances her looks. I take her for a ride in the car about at least once a week and some times twice. She seems to soak up everything and reads me signs, tells me when the lights are green for go and red to stop. Her health is excellent other than Alzheimer's. She tells me she loves me and wants to kiss me. I love it."

Uncle Dale and Aunt Lois at the cabin.

I can only hope that Wyatt will be in love with me after 60 years of marriage the way my uncle was in love with my aunt. He was chivalrous.

I am looking forward to seeing you on the other side Uncle Dale. I love you.


Phoebe said...

I have an Uncle Dale that I love, too!

What a nice remembrance of a dear Uncle. My condolences.

Abbie said...

So sweet Britty. So sweet. And equally as sweet was seeing you there. :)

Collette said...

I love this. It made me so happy. I loved that vacation in Thermopolis. You really were one of the grandkids. I often forgot that you weren't one of his! I love you. I'm so glad I got to see you.

Liza said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Sending prayers and love to your family.

Josette said...

losing someone is never easy. so sorry for your loss, brit. he seems like quite the guy. love the jumpsuit!

Team Carroll said...

What a sweet post! I am sorry for your loss, but am happy for your perspective. The gospel is wonderful and gives such hope and peace.

mom/Janet said...

Sweet thoughts. Thanks for sharing. He really did think of you as a grandchild. He loved to tease and calling you English was a sign. so glad you were able to come.
love you cuz

Anonymous said...

Just left a huge comment about how lucky you were to have that substitute grandparent relationship--and it just disappeared somewhere. I hate this thing sometimes!