17 January 2010

A little bit of Corn...

I know that I usually just write a few lines about my 4-legged family but today I need to write a few words about my Uncle Henry. There are so many stories but I will keep it short and simple because there are just not enough words to express it all right now. For the last year and 1/2, I have spent a lot of time with my Uncle while my Aunt would go run errands or just go spend time at the library or whatever she needed to do that day. You see, my Uncle had Alzheimer's. He was diagnosed with it in 2004 after their daughter died from complications from a hysterectomy. There were signs that something was going on before then but they just attributed it to forgetfulness and life. It is possible that my cousin's death was a catalyst that tipped him over but who knows. It was all tragic. Well, not all. I had moved back to the Houston area in 2008 to heal mentally and spiritually after a bitter breakup and it just happened that I was in the right place at the right time to help. As it turned out, the love and family closeness that I had been missing for a long time found me. Through the last year, as the disease progressed, my Uncle became more housebound and we were unable to take him many places easily. But I did get to take him to eat chocolate ice cream cones occasionally. And steak. He liked steak and potatoes, especially sirloin though he ate it so well done you wouldn't recognize it for what it was. Looked like shoe leather. Personally, medium rare is how I prefer mine. My Uncle was a funny man, silly and sweet. He had a funny Donald Duck noise that he would make at you up until close to the very end even when you couldn't hear him so well because his voice was so weak. I remember him doing this as a young girl as do all my family. I discovered last year that he loved candy corn and my Aunt would tell me he didn't need all that sugar. It wasn't good for him- blah, blah, blah! I would still bring it to him though. His eyes would twinkle like a little boy's when he saw what I had brought him. He would pretend that he was sneaking it as he ate it one piece at a time. The other day I told my Aunt a story about something I remembered from when I was a little girl. My Mom (my Aunt's sister)used to put me in these silly pageants when I was about nine. I never won the big title, usually just talent (ballet/ acrobats) but the prizes were great for a lower middle class family like us. Gift certificates for clothes from really good stores. Anyway, in one of these silly contests I was being interviewed by the M.C.- I remember a rather tall and kinda scary man. The question was what I found funny and made me laugh. As I looked out into the audience, I could see my Mom cringing as I was not one of those kids that had been coached in the proper answers for pageant etiquette. Looking back on it, I probably wouldn't have answered how they wanted me to anyway. So, after thinking real hard about the question, I answered with "My Uncle Henry gives me corn. It makes me laugh." I could see my Mom rolling her eyes and laughing out there in the audience. The M.C. asked me to explain and I told him I would have to show him. I promptly grabbed his knee with my small hand and squeezed him right above the knee in the tickle spot. He started laughing and said, "I see." That was my first time out and I won the talent spot. I don't think it was because I was that great in my dance routine. I think it was because I made them laugh with the rendition of my Uncle's silly tickle game. He always made us laugh even as adults. My Uncle's health went down quickly this last two months. We didn't expect it to happen so soon. All of us, my Aunt, her son and me, thought we'd have him here for at least another year. Some days it was really hard. Others not so much. The best was the love that showed on his face towards his wife and she towards him. It was the best thing I've ever seen. True love. Till the very end. I'm going to really miss seeing that. I can only hope everyone gets to experience love like that in their lifetime. It is truly a beautiful thing to behold. I will miss you my dear and sweet Uncle Henry. You helped bring me back to life with your funny and silly self that somehow found a way to get out of that fog of Alzheimer's. Thanks for the memories and give my Mom some corn up there in Heaven!

Your loving niece,

P.S.: My Aunt and Uncle's 50th Anniversary Picture - February 14, 2009.


  1. Awwww, sweet Uncle Henry. He almost sounds like an Airedale: sweet, funny and fuzzy!
    RIP, Uncle Henry.
    Sending you a big HUG,
    Inky and Molly

  2. We smiled and leaked all at the same time, reading this. You wrote a beautiful tribute to your uncle. One that let us know him just a little bit, and celebrate in his gift to you and to his family and to life. Thank you so much for sharing this so eloquently. You have made our day richer.

    What a wonderful man. What wonderful relationships. What wonderful memories.

    We are so sorry for you loss.
    Jake and Fergi and MomaSally and NinaGirl (she's home!)

  3. Karen & family,
    We are truly sorry for your loss.Uncle Henry seemed like such a cool guy to call uncle.
    X-BabyRocketDog & Hootie

    ps-Mommy is sending you an email.

  4. Uncle Henry sounds like a wonderful man. We understand alzheimers firsthand because our gramp has it too. It's a horrible disease. Our hearts ache for you.

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch