My uncle Bill, my mom's brother, passed away last night.
He was a good man, who had lived hard, but had, from what I could tell, a huge heart. When I was going through a hard time in my life - during my divorce, when I felt like everyone was against me - he made a small gesture that stood out to me so much, and made me feel like there was someone on my side, someone who still cared about me.
Right after my grandma died, everyone present was hugging and consoling each other, and I was standing off to the side by myself. I wasn't a part of the family then, I didn't feel, and haven't felt that way since. Bill saw me standing off all alone, and came up and put his arm around me to see if I was okay. He was the only one to acknowledge that I had feelings too, and that I was sad to see my grandma go. I couldn't allow myself to cry - the black sheep has a reputation to uphold - but at least he knew I wanted to.
That small gesture meant the world to me. I have a picture of the two of us at my wedding reception, which I treasure.
I'm sorry I'll be unable to attend the services, but will be there in spirit.