A dear uncle of mine passed away a little over a week ago in a river rafting accident. He died instantly while doing something he loved with people he loved at a time in his life when he had recently described himself as very happy. I’m sure we would all hope to go that way but for those of us left behind, it was horribly tragic.
I wasn’t as close to him as I would have liked because we’re separated by a few thousand miles. But for some reason, it really hit me hard. He was such a funny, caring guy and I remember always wanting to be around him when the family got together. I think the hardest thing for me is knowing every time I visit our family in that area, he won’t be there.
I did learn a few things from this experience, though:
Don’t assume you’ll have time later to do something. A scripture in the Book of Mormon tells us not to procrastinate the day of your repentance. Well, I procrastinated getting to know my family better and now I can’t repent of that, at least where Uncle Mike is concerned. At least not in this life. I think, at the back of my mind, I was always waiting until I had more time or money to travel and visit people. Not so anymore. We’ve already started planning our first trip to visit family next year. I’m also a little more energetic about getting the things done I’ve been meaning to do, like writing a business plan, fixing up my lawn, etc. Time is my most valuable asset and I can’t afford to waste it anymore.
Family is important. The gospel teaches us that the family is the most important unit. I’ve known that was true for a long time but it means more to me now.
Have a very detailed will/funeral plan. Your loved ones should be spending their time coming together to support each other not dealing with minutia. Be very specific about everything you want done from the time you die or become incapacitated until the time that you are interred. Frankly, I couldn’t care less where I’m buried, what my casket looks like and whether or not there’s a funeral, but I’m determined to take care of those details now so my family doesn’t have to.
I’m glad Uncle Mike is well taken care of where he’s at. It’s been 25 years (almost to the day) since he was able to hug his mom and a little longer than that since he saw his younger sister. His dear ex-wife passed away just a few short months ago. He’s surrounded by friends and family and I look forward to when I get to see him again.