The text message read, “He is in hospice.” I know what it means for someone to be in hospice, but  I had no warning. I was at the beauty salon, in the stylist’s chair, and I get this text message from my sister about my uncle.

“Not him. Why him? Why him? Stay calm. Wait until your finished and then let it out in the car,” I thought to myself, and then I tried to make up a scenario where hospice was just an overflow for the hospital, but another text came through, “He is dying.” I told the hair stylist the news I just received, and we talked about it which helped me stay calm for the moment. I walked out of the salon, got into the car, called my parents, and the tears came. I asked my parents why are they just telling us now in this final stage, but they stated they just found out themselves that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer and was sent to hospice.

A week later, he made his transition.

This uncle represents some of the happiest times of my childhood. Our adventures with him and his children (my counsins) was this collection of eccentric moments filled with smiles and laughter that is a chapter in my life story.

For years, I’ve experienced the organic smiles that pop up when myself and my siblings remember those days with him, but when he passed away, it felt like a part of my childhood had died and that was unexpected. The words, “too young,” respond to this unexpected feeling.

Now memories that once made me laugh now make me cry. I want to cherish these memories, but at the moment, they haunt me because he is gone too soon. The life lesson I am learning in the midst of this is one all to familar when faced with mortality, “Life is short, and we have to make the most of the days we are given.”

One day, the smiles and the laughter will return when I remember those beautiful moments – one day.

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