peter

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so.

my favorite uncle is dying.

I mean, I have other uncles.

Roy and Tommy were both married to my mom’s sister, Bebe, and they’re wonderful lovable men, but I don’t know them that well.

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Roy & Bebe

Tommy & Bebe

My dad has two sisters who have had multiple husbands and I don’t think I’ve even met all of them.

Their current husbands, Mike and Alan, I’ve met both of them one time each. They’re nice.

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aunt evelyn : uncle alan

aunt genny : uncle mike

aunt genny : uncle mike

I have fake uncles, Reg and Barry and other men I love, but none like Peter

peter

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Peter was born in Frankfurt, West Germany – like me. [my mom was born in Florence, Italy and was therefore named Florence. I always wondered why he wasn’t named Frank]

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I’m pretty sure he was a jock in high school, super handsome

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he’s dead center, blue grey jacket. at my parents’ (both on far right) wedding in 1978.

married a lady who was all wrong for him (or so I understand)

brought my wonderful cousin Edye into being with that first wife

Edye won’t have her dad anymore, soon, and I can’t imagine what that’s going to be like

the world will be completely different.

…somewhere along the way he ended up in the Army and in Germany and divorced from that first wife

met, loved, married my beautiful Aunt Barbara

who will be a widow soon and my heart’s just ripped in pieces for her.

lived in this super awesome a-frame house (which wasn’t white when I was younger, but cool and wood…also didn’t have those add-ons off to the sides when I was younger) my whole life just about

thanks googlemaps

thanks googlemaps

struggled with diabetes, let me play his Atari, had a LIBRARY in his house which I thought was just the coolest (also where I discovered my love of Stephen King novels), grew THE most awesome beard, had a series of awesome dogs [Bojangles…Cajun…Dweezil…Fortune…Max…Barney…the list goes on]

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see that epic beard?!

that beard’s probably why Edye and I ended up with really handsome bearded dudes..

always sent me THE raddest gifts at Christmas and birthdays

when we moved to Hawai’i and couldn’t take our beloved dog Bubba with us, he moved in with Pete and Barbara so we wouldn’t have to surrender him to a shelter

there’s lots and lots I don’t know about him, but

he’s funny and smart. he loves his family.

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especially his granddaughters, Katherine and Alainey.

Peter and Barbara, they were always there.

Most people grow up having family – uncles and aunts and cousins and grandparents and nephews and nieces and what-have-you close by. Family get togethers are a matter of course, nothing out of the ordinary.

We were Army, my family, and didn’t really have any other family that lived close to us. Until we moved to AL, that is, and suddenly Peter and Barbara and my grandma were only about 1.5 hours away, and we joined the ranks of ‘families who get together and have holidays and celebrations and spend time with one another.’

it was pretty awesome. what I’d always wanted, as we moved from Army base to Army base.

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that looks like an Easter. (see the eggs by my grandma!) (see all the happy smiles…what the heck, people. thanks for smiling, mom 🙂 )

they were at my high school graduation ❤

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and my first wedding

and all sorts of important days

the surprise 50th birthday party I threw for my parents

(my mom in pink. Peter in yellow. grandma laughing, sitting off to the right)

all my life

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he had a camera in his hand most of the time, and maybe that’s one of the reasons I do too

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although, after this day, above, with bubbles, I remember finding out his camera had no film in it; all day long

yikes

also

he’s the last of my mom’s immediate family. her dad died in the 80s. her sister died in the 90s. her mother died in 2007.

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that’s my mom, in the middle.

I don’t know what this must feel like for her. I have a husband, a dad, a grandfather..

I can imagine those horrible feels, I can empathize somewhat.

but your big brother? The last member of the family you were born into?

I don’t know those feels at all.

I think the last time I saw him might have been 2007.

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Thanksgiving.

and I think the last time I spoke with him on the phone was in 2011.

he sounded so unlike himself..and it scared me so much, it hurt me so much

that I was too scared to talk to him after that. I was an idiot, so stupid.

my mom would tell me how he was doing, and Barbara, and I’d think about calling, WANT to call

but the fear was bigger.

so selfish and it’s my loss. My loss.

his birthday’s Monday.

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it’s me – in his cowboy hat, early 1980’s

[I think my mom said that ^ was his Smokey and the Bandit hat]

it’s him, on his birthday, 62 years ago this weekend

and he’s in a hospital in Columbus, GA and I want to be there with my mom and Barbara and Edye

but I’m not. I’m here in New England and we had our first flurry this morning.

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some sort of infection, my mom said. machines unplugged this morning. he’s not conscious. they won’t transport him to the hospice facility because he wouldn’t survive the trip.

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that’s me, and that’s him

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