On Monday this week (I am a little behind), I attended the funeral of a great man. My Grandfather’s brother (my Great Uncle for those of you keeping track!), Gene, passed away on May 20th. He was 92, lived an incredible life and always had a story to tell with a smile on his face.
Even though I am an only child, I actually come from a rather large family. You may remember this same branch of the family tree from previous posts about Thanksgiving. My Grandfather was one of seven boys and until May 20th, five of the seven were still with us. My mom is one of six children, and my dad is one of seven. And while some people don’t know their uncles and aunts very well, I am blessed to say that I know all of mine AND most of my Great Aunts and Uncles as well – including Uncle Gene and his wife, Aunt Greta (who is one of Tatiana’s favorites!) – and it doesn’t hurt that they are practically my neighbors!
The Clarkson boys from top left: Lock, Gene, Lee, Jule. Bottom left: Lyle, Wayne and Arden.
I never knew my Grandfather, Lawrence “Lock” Clarkson. He passed away in January 1969, before I was born. I am thankful that I got to experience what I can only imagine he was like, through the eyes of his brothers. Another cousin said it well this week by stating that if our Grandfather was anything like Uncle Gene, he must have been wonderful! And that’s saying A LOT. Uncle Gene’s funeral was packed. Not many people can say that – let alone a 92 year old. 4 SEPARATE religious leaders got up to speak – from 4 SEPARATE churches!
As with many people, I assume, family over the years has come to mean more to me than I realized. My Great Uncle’s passing coincided with a conversation I had with a co-worker who is VERY driven to be promoted. He seems boggled sometimes when I don’t have the same goal. And honestly, years ago, I would have been boggled as well. However, the older I get, the more important family and friends are to me. I am sure Tatiana’s arrival has something to do with that as well. I am thrilled that she is growing up around so many family members! She sees her Gramma Darlin on a daily basis – along with some of her cousins. Her GREAT Gramma lives a mile from us and she has the pleasure of knowing some of her Great GREAT Aunts and Uncles. For someone who started out her life with NO one claiming to be her family, that’s pretty cool.
Over the past year or so, my priorities have shifted. I find myself thinking of ways I could work where I didn’t have to travel as much so I could be even CLOSER to home more often. My cousin Jennifer and I plot about opening up our own business at times, but what that is, we aren’t 100% sure yet. We’re both fabulous dreamers – it’s got to be genetic!
So while I am sad to say Good-bye to my literally GREAT (as in fabulous), Great Uncle Gene (as in my mother’s Uncle!), I am thankful for the time we spent together; the stories he told (like many of our family members, he could talk and talk and talk – a habit I *OBIVOUSLY* did NOT inherit, ha ha); the glimpse into what my Grandfather was like; and the life lessons that I didn’t even know I was receiving. Say hi to Grandpa for me, Uncle Gene!