On this day a year ago, we took our first trek into this piece of land we now call home. We put on our old tennis shoes, work clothes and lots of bug spray and waded through the poison oak to try and decide if this was "the place". It was an exciting time, and completely uncharted territory for us.
When we arrived home, on this day a year ago, there were several messages on the answering machine from my daddy. He had been trying to call to tell us that his twin brother Ronald had committed suicide. A happy day turned into a day of horror and grief.
My uncle was an extraordinary person. He took care of his family, including me. He also saw to the needs of just about everyone else, even complete strangers. He did not hesitate to step in when someone was in trouble, and saved many lives because of it. He was well educated and one of the most intelligent people I have ever known. But in the last few years, he suffered from mental illness, and it proved to be a terminal illness.
My first reaction to the news was anger - not so much at Ron, but that he would be remembered for how he died rather than how he lived. But once the shock had passed, and with the help of family, I find that what I remember most are the funny stories and good deeds and all the things Ron loved. I can only hope that it's the same way for all who knew him.
I wish I had something more profound to say about such a profound life. Unfortunately, I don't have the same grasp on the English language that Ron had. It will have to suffice to say that I love and miss him very much.