In the middle of a busy Friday afternoon in May of this year, I got a call from my father that started out with him saying, “Uncle Benny isn’t doing so good.”
Speaking in the tentative kind of talk that people do when they fear the worst of a situation, the last I remember my father saying was, “He might not make it, we’ll just have to see.”
Dazed and confused, I knew I needed to get more information on the exact condition that my uncle Benny was in, so I called my cousin Ben (the youngest of uncle Benny’s four sons) who lives in Orlando.
His prognosis of the situation was worse than my father’s, as he conceded “Yeah, the hospital is pretty much keeping him alive.”
Flooded with work and deadlines, all I remember thinking was “Damn, I haven’t seen my uncle Benny in years. I need to go see him now.”
The next morning, I was on a plane headed to Florida.
And it was during the five-hour flight when I began to reminisce about my childhood memories growing up with uncle Benny.
By the time I landed in Orlando, I had a renewed mental image of my uncle – as vivid and real as it could be. He was tall and strong.
Someone who you revered, but also looked up to.
I never told anybody this, but I used to pretend to be him, when I’d play Pop Warner football, as a skinny white kid in a fairly tough New York City suburb.
He gave me the strength to kick ass.
And when I got my ass kicked, he gave me the resolve to dust myself off and get back on the field.
It was nothing he ever said really.
I just secretly admired him in a way that he would never really come to know.
Today, I must confess …
He was one of my childhood heroes.
When I arrived at the hospital I was nervous, because I knew the condition I was about to see him in wasn’t the way I wanted to see him.
As he lay on the hospital bed, in an induced coma with tubes running from his mouth and his nose, my mind refused to accept his physical insolvency.
All I saw was the robust character that I knew from my childhood. And that’s all I wanted to see.
The next day my uncle peacefully passed away.
Leaving a wife and four sons behind.
His hour had come and gone, but his legacy will always be firmly imprinted in my mind.
Become a living legend for your wife, family, and friends.
If there were one thing that I learned from this experience … if there were one directive that my uncle had given me on the day of his passing, it was this …
“Meetch, become a living legend for those around you. Don’t wait another second. Love your wife, your friends, and your family in a legendary way, every day.”
This has been my new charge in every role that I play in life (including being a husband) and I have my uncle’s strength to draw upon.
Who do you draw inspiration from? What’s your charge in life?
We all have one life to live; let’s start to build our legacy (as husbands, fathers, and uncles) today.
From one husband to another,