22 October 2015

Celebrations, stories, goodbyes

I received news yesterday that my Uncle Daniel passed away from Leukemia. They discovered and diagnosed the problem in June of this year and told him he had 3 months to live.

My parents attended his funeral and we spoke on the phone about the details.

I didn't know my Uncle Daniel as well as I would have liked to. I had a large filipino family on my mom's side and he was a distant uncle, the father of my second cousins. I spent only a handful of Christmas's at my grandma's house with Uncle Daniel in attendance. However, out of all my family members, Uncle Daniel's demeanor and spirit reminds me most of my husband, Tyson: soft-spoken, quiet, gentle, yet still possessing and exuding obvious strength and authority. For this reason, among numerous others, I mourn that our world is losing such a soul.

Uncle Daniel was a captain of his own sailing vessel in the navy and spent much of time at sea, separated from his family for long periods at a time. When he was finally able to spend more time with his family in the states, it was difficult for him to get a job that could keep him in one place. So he worked until his retirement as a high school janitor.

I didn't even know who my high school janitor was, but Uncle Daniel found a way to make his presence known in the most respectable and meaningful of ways. Staff and students remember him for always being the first one there to set up for an event and the last to leave. One student who attended his funeral recounts asking Uncle Daniel to be his father in his difficult adolescence. Staff told stories of witnessing the many students who went to Uncle Daniel as a friend and mentor, swarming him hugs, and disproving that ranks and titles don't determine worth and influence to children. It was his sincerity and heart that made everywhere he went a better place to be.

Finally, Uncle Daniel was able to retire, and him and my Auntie Indie decided to travel the world and do mission work. This last year they helped build a church in Guimaras, Phillippines.

Since Uncle Daniel was often at sea when his own children were growing up, he voiced often that he was excited to be there to watch his own five grandchildren grow up. However, his passing was quick and unexpected and his grandchildren are all very young (under age 5), and won't have the pleasure of growing up knowing him. Please keep my aunt and cousins and family in your prayers.

I write all this out to honor and remember our Uncle Daniel, a beloved person, a loving person, an amazing human we were all blessed to know.

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My name is Trina. I put hot sauce on everything.