Blog: Cherishing Every Moment

Madison Palmer writes about the loss of a loved one

Madison Palmer writes about the loss of a loved one

Madison Palmer, Staff Writer

The tall figure grabbed the hammer and beat at the nail while I stood and watched. After the last nail made it all the way in the wood, he grabbed our newest project and hung it up on the wall. Little did I know, that would be the last project we made together.

My Uncle Steve, some of the only family I talked to on my dad’s side, loved building new projects for the house or fixing broken things. He was a big Nascar fan and always held a sweet tea with some mint dip in his lip. You could normally find him outside most of the day, and he would come in at night to eat dinner and watch some tv.

A big family man, he loved hanging out with my dad or visiting relatives. We went to a family reunion, and he was immediately greeted by everyone. There never came a time that he had no smile on his face. I knew him as one of the most positive influences I had in my life, and while we didn’t see each other in person all the time, I often thought about him.

It was the day of Oct. 28, 2017, that everything changed. It seemed like a normal day. My dad was in Pennsylvania for work, my mom was out with errands and I was busy working a haunted house for FFA. My friend, Brooke, was supposed to come over and spend the night, but I got a call from my brother which I found weird considering he usually just texts.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea for Brooke to come tonight,” My brother said. “I’ll explain when I pick you up.”

I questioned it but brushed it off thinking maybe my mom just changed her mind. I got in the truck and asked if my dad was ok since he was out of the state. I didn’t realize my world came crashing down on me until my brother told me what happened.

“Uncle Steve passed away this morning,” My brother said. “It was either a brain tumor or a heart attack.”

I couldn’t think, all I wanted to do was scream and cry. The rest of the ride home remained silent while the tears rolled off my cheeks. When we arrived home and waited for my parents to make it back from the airport I questioned myself, but mainly I questioned God. My uncle was 56 years old, why did such a good man have to die so young?

Finally, I heard the door open, and I rushed outside. The sky had become gloomy as I saw no stars in the sky. My dad came in the house with a look of sorrow and I engulfed him in a hug. For the minute we stood there hugging and crying it seemed like a million years.  

About a week later we learned it was a heart attack that had taken my uncle’s life. It came unexpectedly too because his recent stress test came back clear of complications. On the morning of Nov.1, I woke up ready for the day to be over. I took a shower and put on my black shirt and some jeans, I did my makeup and just sat on my bed and realized what was really about to happen.

As we pulled up to the funeral home, I immediately recognized certain family members. I made my way in and walked toward the casket noticing my uncle peacefully resting. He had his race hat, peppermints and some Twizzlers on his chest. He had on a necklace under his shirt which I noticed my aunt wearing after the funeral.

Soon after we made our way to the house which kept my uncle safe for so long. I kept replaying some words in my head that my cousin, Chris, had said during the service.

“He literally would’ve given you the shirt off his back if you needed it,” Chris said. “That’s just the kind of man he was.”

I learned to never take anyone for granted. The most innocent and the most loved people can be taken from you with no warning at all. Make every minute you have with someone worth it and make memories you can remember far in the future.