Larry the lobster ended up winning the Ocean Reef contest for men that year. This is a picture of my Uncle Mark with his prize lobster Larry. My dad's in the background. Larry put up a good fight, but he was dinner in the end.
Most of you don't know yet, but my Uncle Mark died last week. We don't know what happened yet. Waiting on a toxicology report. He was 48 years old and in decent shape. That leaves my mom without family (except me & my brother).
My Uncle Mark pretty much spoiled me rotten. He got me a Hot-Wheels when I was little, right after they came on the market. Pretty sweet. I still have Barney, a stuffed dog that he gave me while I was in the hospital dehydrated with pneumonia. Since I recovered from that sickness, my family has been using Barney as a talisman to help sick members of the family get better. Uncle Mark gave me a handheld GPS way before they were sticking them in non-high-end-luxury cars. He was always down to go diving or fishing. Right now, about half of my house is furnished courtesy of Uncle Mark.
So far, I haven't had that hard of a time coping with his death. The funeral is this coming Saturday, and things might be different after that. I think part of the reason I've been so fine is that I haven't been around my mom. I think that she's doing pretty well, but I'm pretty sure it's just because she doesn't call me when she's momentarily torn up. Another reason is that I know he had a good relationship with God. As my dad put it, he had a room waiting on him behind the pearly gates. Also, he died while eating, so at least he was happy. Uncle Mark was a GOOD cook. Furthermore, I got to see him over the winter break. Which is a good thing, especially since I didn't see anybody at Thanksgiving.
Our winter break encounter was very coincidental. He called and asked me if I wanted to bet on FSU for the Emerald Bowl game. We bet a straight-up $5. I won. I was down in Jupiter for the HC alumni event and I was going to pick up my granny to take her to vero the following day. I stopped by Uncle Mark's house to collect the money (it was supposed to be in his mailbox b/c he was out fishing). When I pulled up, I saw his truck and boat in the front yard. I knocked on the door and I think it was Sailor's barking that woke him up. He had been out fishing all night. We spent about an hour together. He looked for the remote that goes to my DVD/VCR, but couldn't find it. He showed me his new reels. I got to see his new couch. I have his old one at my house.
I don't really know what to think about all of this yet. I think that it does hit the point home that you have to LIVE because you never know when your time will come. You know that trip you've been planning on taking? That girl you were going to talk to? The game you wanted to play? That thing you wanted to say? Do it. Obviously you can't do everything at once, but a little bit of life every day is good. I was talking to my dad about how this kind of made me want to go do things. He reminded me that doing crazy things (ones with high probability of accident) can be fun, but "if you ask for something long enough, you'll get it." I don't plan on doing anything too dangerous...I just mean going out to play soccer with friends instead of keeping my nose in a book all day. I mean calling up my Aunt Kristina and setting up a date to go parasailing. Oh, I want to ski.
Earlier in the semester, I made a list of things I want to do before I die. I'd better start crossing off some of the items.