Those who read my blogs regularly and/or have read past ones know that I have had to deal with losing family members in my past and it hits me hard. This week was no exception. I lost my Uncle Regis on Thursday, November 30th. He was married to my mom’s sister, Aunt Millie.
Uncle Regis, Aunt Millie, and cousin Bob were an extension of my immediate family. While I love all my Aunts, Uncles, and cousins, I spent the most amount of time with Millie, Regis and Bob. Millie and Regis were my second parents and Bob is more like a brother than a cousin. In the summers they practically lived with us on the farm, we took vacations together, we spent every holiday and birthday together. When we celebrated Father’s Day it was for both my dad and Uncle Regis, when we celebrated Mother’s Day it was for both my mom and Aunt Millie.
My mom, my dad, Millie and Regis were very close including wanting to be buried next to each other. About 8 years ago during a time when I was unemployed, I took the four of them to the cemetery where they wanted to be buried so they could find four spots beside each other that they all liked.
The cemetery was one where most of our family is buried. Uncle Regis was the one who was most particular, he really wanted to be buried where he had played baseball when he was a kid, but there were no spots available in that area of the cemetery, so they found one that they all agreed on and I worked on getting them the plots. My mom and Aunt Millie kept saying they needed to be beside each other with the men on the end so they could talk about them, LOL. That is how we have the plots set up.
That is how close the four of them were and us kids knew no different than growing up together as “siblings.” Losing Uncle Regis is like losing a father to me. I knew this day was coming with his health slipping, but you can never be fully prepared to lose someone.
I am upset because I never got to say good-bye to him. When I was up in Pennsylvania visiting in the spring, before starting the adventure I’m on now, I did not know that I would not see him again. I have been thinking about this a lot since his passing. I do feel he knew how much I loved him, but I just wish I would have been able to say good-bye and give him one final hug.
I’ve also been feeling sad because I will not be able to make it up to the funeral in Pennsylvania. Bob and my mother have both told me Uncle Regis would not have wanted me to leave my shop and do anything that may affect business to come up to his funeral. I know they are right. However, I’m feeling guilty because back in 2014, Uncle Regis asked me if I would talk at his funeral when he passes. In 2014, my dad passed away and then four weeks later Aunt Millie passed away. I spoke at both funerals and Uncle Regis really liked how I spoke and he wanted me to speak at his when that time came. It is really bothering me that I cannot be there to do that for him.
I know from talking to my mom and Bob that Uncle Regis was proud of me taking this risk with the Candy Store. I know he loved samples I sent up to my family. He was always willing to be a taste tester (but then most of my family enjoyed that job).
Since I cannot be up in Pennsylvania at Uncle Regis’ funeral speaking, I am writing this blog, which includes pictures and my eulogy to Uncle Regis. So, as you read this next section imagine me standing in front of you speaking, dressed in a black skirt and a purple top (his favorite color was purple). I’m usually nervous speaking in front of people because I feel I still have a speech impediment, but for some reason I was ok speaking at funerals. I think because I didn’t need to be perfect, I was always speaking from the heart. As I write this I have pictures of Uncle Regis in front of me and I’m remembering the Uncle I love and will miss.
I am sitting in my candy store, listening to Christmas music and looking at old pictures I found of my Uncle with me and other family members, wow some of the pictures makes me wonder what the heck was I thinking with my hair, LOL. When looking at pictures of Uncle Regis, the thing I noticed most in the pictures was him smiling and/or joking. He grayed and aged throughout the years, but his smile never changed.
He was not perfect, no one is. He wanted to make others happy. He would give money to a stranger if they asked, if you were a relative and needed anything he would help you out no questions asked. He loved my sister, my brother and I as though we were his kids, just like my parents loved Bob like a son.
He was also ornery, sometimes frustrating. Late a lot of the times to family functions. But you could not help but love him.
He taught me how to pitch horseshoes and at one point I was pretty good. I always threw off my wrong foot when pitching horseshoes and it was not until writing this that I realized why, Uncle Regis was left handed. I was right handed. He taught me to pitch with my right hand, but the footing he showed me was as though I was left handed. I still did very well pitching, although I’m probably rusty now, it’s been a while since I’ve played.
My love of playing tennis came from him taking us kids to practice. Although one night he kept us out until dark (the courts were not lit), back then we didn’t have cell phones, so my mom and Aunt Millie were panicky. We made it home safe, then he got yelled at from both of them. Those who know my family are picturing that encounter and smiling because they know Uncle Regis, Aunt Millie and my mom and how that “conversation” went LOL.
When I was a kid he would tell me that he wanted to buy me silks (jockey uniform). I’m not sure why, I did ride horses and I was short, but for some reason (not sure why) him saying that would make me cry. I guess he wanted me to “grow up” to be a jockey. I should have been flattered.
He was very patient when teaching us kids something. He loved kids. He was very involved in all of Bob’s sports and activities.
Uncle Regis loved his sports, didn’t matter if it was Peewee, High School, College, Professional, he loved it. My Senior year in High School, I participated in the Powder Puff Football game during senior week. He was so happy. I think he was prouder than anyone in the family that I was playing football. He came to the game and was the loudest cheerleader in the stands.
I love baseball, I’m a Pittsburgh Pirate fan (yes even through all their bad years), so we would talk Pirate Baseball during the summer. Then when I was in fantasy baseball and football leagues, we would talk about the players I had on my teams and their stats. Every time I seen him he would want an update on how my fantasy team was doing.
Bob was supposed to be a groomsman at my first wedding, but unfortunately was deployed overseas. So, we asked Uncle Regis to step in for him and he was so happy to be a part of it. You could tell by the big smile on his face that he couldn’t have been prouder. I couldn’t have imagined doing it any other way.
My sister, my niece, and I were the only ones who could get Uncle Regis to do things that he refused to do for others, especially when it came to his health. He knew not to argue with me on health issues because I was no nonsense and if I felt he needed to go to the hospital he was going. I remember one time in May 2009 when he was not feeling well and Aunt Millie could not convince him to go to the hospital, she called my mom, who then called me. I drove to their house walked in the door, looked at him, asked how he felt, then told him I was there to take him to the hospital. He did not argue and I took him. After I moved away, my niece and sister had that touch with him. Although it was harder on them this past year to get him to go when needed.
When Bob was at West Point, I would travel up there sometimes with Uncle Regis and Aunt Millie to visit him. It was such a fun trip, although I will say I prayed during the drive to and from because of how both Uncle Regis and Aunt Millie drove. Uncle Regis would drift in and out of lanes, and start to fall asleep, then Aunt Millie liked to race truckers (and win). We always made it home safe. I did a lot of closing of the eyes and praying sitting in the passenger seat, but loved every moment spending time with them.
Uncle Regis (and Aunt Millie) came to everything we had going on in schools. Whether it was a concert, prom, or graduation, it didn’t matter they were there. I remember for my High School Graduation, we only got a set number of tickets per graduate, yet they got extra tickets because they were good friends with the principal of our High School. I know they would have been so disappointed if they couldn’t have gotten in to watch me graduate.
Uncle Regis is at peace now, no longer in pain. He is probably in Heaven sitting around a table, eating, laughing and talking with Aunt Millie, My Dad, Aunt Dut (who passed away this year too and is another one I feel guilty for not being able to go to the funeral), Uncle Hix, Aunt Virginia, Uncle Jack, Grandma Helen and Grandfather Henry, Eileen & Jerry (Regis’ sister & brother-in-law) and Rosabelle & Charlie (Regis’ parents). He is probably reminiscing about growing up in Freedom, Pennsylvania and asking them all “do you remember so-and-so.” He loved to talk about the good old days. My Aunts may know who he was talking about because they grew up near him in Freedom. He always assumed my dad knew people from their childhood even though my dad grew up in Ohio. Regis just loved talking to anyone about anything. Those around Beaver, Pennsylvania know that all too well. It was tough to get away from Regis if you ran into him anywhere he would talk your ear off.
Uncle Regis will be missed, not only by our family, his friends, but the community of Beaver, PA. It is a sad day for all of us. Rest in Peace sweet Uncle Regis. I love you!
Life is so precious. We all get caught up in our own lives and neglect those we love. I’m very guilty of doing that throughout my life and having that happen to me. I vowed to change, when I quit my corporate job, but I still do it. I do not do it on purpose, but we all have such busy lives that we forget to actually live. Sometimes we don’t realize until it’s too late.
I have missed saying my good-bye’s to way too many people I loved that I have lost in my life. You can lose someone you love so quickly to an accident or illness that you don’t have the opportunity to say good-bye to them. The lesson is make sure if you care about someone they know it. If you are arguing with a loved one or not talking, but you love them, let them know how you feel.
Life is not forever. You are on this earth for a small amount of time, don’t let stubbornness or pride fester regret and guilt.
I love all my family. I love all my friends, new and old. I love my customers, followers/fans, and community.
Please tell those you care about how you feel!
Enjoy these pictures of Uncle Regis – I will have captions/descriptions with the pictures