Extra Time


Uncle Duane and me

When my brother and I took a road trip to our hometown a couple of weeks ago, one of our main priorities was to spend time with our Uncle Duane.

Back in February, our entire family headed to Pennsylvania to say what we thought would be our goodbyes to our beloved uncle. (I wrote about that here and here).

It turns out doctors can be wrong. He wasn’t supposed to live to see April but he is still alive and kicking in November!

Simply put, my uncle is a warrior. He is a WWII veteran and his frail body houses the heart of a fighter.

His goal for our trip was to purchase a laptop and a printer. And to get a Facebook account! 🙂

So, my brother and I happily picked him up the day after we arrived in town.

It was hard to see how much effort it took for him to do such a simple thing as get into the front seat of a car. Yet he carries himself with such dignity that we could not feel sorry for him. We simply—and happily— adjusted our pace to his, just glad to be with him on a sunny autumn day.

I am not in any way a patient person. I have one speed…fast.

However, that day, I was content to match my pace to my uncle’s. I had all the time in the world to give to him.

Love does that.

Later in the trip, he showed me a box of letters and documents from our ancestors on my dad’s side. (Uncle Duane is our family historian).

I looked with wonder at the documentation of my first relative to come to this country. His name was Samuel and he was born in 1777 in Switzerland. He came to New York City in the 1800s, and became a citizen. One of his children was born in 1813 and was my great, great, great grandfather.

I was able to read a few letters from some long-gone relatives who were first generation Americans. Even though there was nothing earth-shattering in their words, I was absolutely fascinated to read about their day-to-day lives, their struggles, their joys. I wondered what they looked like? Would I have enjoyed spending time with them?

Among the letters were photos of my Uncle Duane and Aunt Dot touring the midwestern family homestead that had been  built in the 1800’s. It was still standing well into the early 1980’s.

After I finished looking at the letters, I was able to talk to Uncle Duane about them. I was able to ask him questions and hear his memories and stories.

“I want more time,” I thought as I hugged him goodbye, fighting tears.

Time with our loved ones is such a precious gift. It is also the easiest gift to take for granted.

I am already looking forward to the next time that I get to see my uncle.

Regardless of when that is (whether on earth or in heaven) I will always be grateful for the “extra time” I had with him on those sunny October days.

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2 Comments

Filed under Friends and Family

2 responses to “Extra Time

  1. Su

    What a special time you enjoyed w/ your uncle! He must be a good guy, he’s Swiss 🙂 My husband’s 100% Swiss (besides being 100% American). Sounds like you might enjoy using ancestry.com. I bought my mom a membership recently and we’ve been having a blast looking into our genealogy together.

    • That’s a great idea Su! I’ve always wondered about that site…I will definitely have to check it out! Thanks for the tip! (And I didn’t know that about your hubby!).

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