Sunday, February 12, 2012

In Loving Memory

My favorite Uncle Bill died yesterday morning after a long and nasty battle with cancer.

Just 2 years ago in April 2010 at my Grandpa's 90th birthday party {the Grandpa still living}, Uncle Bill was healthy and strong, playing football with some of the kids {pictured below is his youngest daughter's middle child and my oldest niece}.

He was a fabulous uncle, but watching him be a Grandpa to those 5 wonderful grandchildren of his most recently was quite a delight. He's amazing with them. Here's his youngest grandchild:

And all of his immediate family {except Mary's husband who had to work}, again in April 2010:

He had melanoma for a couple of years, then in the Fall or so it moved to his bones. They put him on a medicine that they thought would help and it seemed to be working for a little bit there. He looked frail and weak, but still pretty good at Christmas.

My favorite conversation with him ensued right as we were taking this picture. Precious, precious moments. The only picture I've ever taken with the two of them. {The major bummer is Tim was sick at my mom's this day and was unable to be there for this gathering. :( }

Just over a week ago, he was taken to the hospital as a result of unrelenting, extraordinary pain. And he never left the hospital again.

We are thankful he's no longer in so much pain or suffering, and is now in heaven with his Savior. But we already miss him dearly.

I'm really thankful I forced some family pictures together at Christmas, even though not everyone liked it or thought they should - we didn't want to make Uncle Bill uncomfortable, but they are now even more important and special memories that we will cherish for many, many years to come.

The hardest part is watching the 3 boys pictured with him below at Christmas. My cousin Mary's 3 sons were best buddies with him. They did so much together. He took them to school and back. They rode around on the tractors with him at the farm sometimes. Even just a few weeks ago when they were sick he could be seen walking up to their house with his cane, bringing them soup and other things they needed. He was so selfless, always thinking of others. 

Another of his best friends: my Grandpa. It's hard to believe Grandpa has outlived Uncle Bill, it's so sad. Bill & Grandpa farmed alongside each other for many, many years. Bill was Grandpa's power of attorney, ran the farm when Grandpa retired, etc. They lived less than 1 mile from each other for probably 25 years until Grandpa went to the nursing home last year. Mom told me on the phone today she's still trying to figure out how to tell Grandpa, he doesn't know yet. It's going to be heartbreaking. If he loses it at the family viewing before the public visitation on Tuesday, I have no doubt everyone else will too.

I lived within 2 miles of them for 18 years. Our bus stop was often at their house. They really helped out when we needed to be looked after while mom had to work.

Some of my favorite memories are from playing at their house or on the farm with my cousins. Uncle Bill was always there. For everyone. Constantly. Such an amazing man and a hard loss.

He was well loved, had a good life, great family, and will be dearly missed. He was 57.

"We live in a world of trials and tribulations. We were never promised an easy road. Even with things the way they are now, I wouldn't trade lives with anyone else. I've had a good life with a wonderful family. I am fully satisfied."

Bill Martin: May 30, 1954—Feb 11, 2012


Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I am so terribly sorry to hear about his passing. So sorry.

don and sara said...

Those are treasured memories- thanks for sharing.