Whoops… technically this already happened but I failed to write about it before it happened. However, it was a great time so I’m still going to fill you in.
This past weekend Zack and I drove up to Rhinelander, Wisconsin, to visit my uncle Ron. Uncle Ron is my dad’s youngest brother. My dad had three siblings- my uncle Bob (who passed away in November of 2015), my aunt Pat, then came my dad, and finally my uncle Ron. There was a significant age gap between the two oldest siblings and the two youngest siblings and even though in childhood my uncle Ron and my dad didn’t always get along, they grew up to be pretty close. Obviously when my dad passed it affected both my aunt and my uncle pretty hard but I think my uncle spent so much time trying to be strong for my mom and I he didn’t have a lot of opportunities to mourn. I don’t want to assume too much but I get the feeling that he’s had a tough time dealing with it all so I thought a trip to visit him was much needed.
When I was little we made a lot of trips up to Rhinelander to visit my uncle Ron and my aunt Angie. The trips were always relaxing (apart from the six hour drive there) and we spent a lot of time chatting, fishing, spending time on the boat, and enjoying each other’s company. When I got older my parents let me bring different friends on the trip with me and my aunt and uncle welcomed them as if they were family too. So, Rhinelander has always held a special place in my heart… even before everything happened.
Now, with everything that went on this year I was able to see my uncle more than I have in the past six or so years. The last time we went to visit was summer of 2010 and with me being in college until 2013 I missed them stopping through Chicago pretty often. I felt horrible about not seeing them and having to see them because my father was dying made me feel even worse. It’s no secret that uncle Ronnie was always my favorite and I feel like over the years I haven’t exactly shown him that. After my dad died I decided I needed to keep in touch more and make an effort to see him so Zack and I planned our Labor Day weekend trip.
The excitement that my uncle had about us coming to visit warmed my heart. You could tell that he was genuinely excited that we were coming to see him. I mean, he even called me 2 days before to make sure we were really coming. To feel that much love is amazing. The weekend was fantastic. It was incredibly relaxing and refreshing. We talked about my dad and our past trips there and I think it was really therapeutic for both of us. We both know how bad that loss has been and I think it was nice for us both to share that feeling together.
When we said goodbye on Sunday night he hugged me tight and I could tell that he was getting a little choked up. Can you imagine having someone love you that much? This trip meant a lot to me and I’m excited to return as soon as I possibly can.