Four years ago last September, we lost my uncle Sam. It was unexpected, the last thing anyone ever expects. He was the very glue that held our family together and, since his passing, it's as if the distance between everyone is exponentially and irrevocably greater even though geographically we're all in the same place we were on that very day; the nucleus which the close-knit cell that we revolved around died, and so the cell died with it.
For the first couple of years we didn't even bother to celebrate the holidays. My grandma just couldn't bear the thought of purposefully celebrating anything without her youngest child there. And even when we did begin to put effort into marking special days, it was more for form than because there was any joy in it. It's been hard. But do things like that ever get truly easier?
This year, though, I'm feeling differently about things. I can't speak for the rest of my family (my mom or my grandma, I should say, as the rest are so far removed), but for the first time in four years I'm looking forward to tomorrow, to Christmas day. That's because today, Christmas Eve, I saw my almost-ready-to-be-born son on an ultrasound and, though he'll miss Christmas by a matter of weeks, it feels like there is something special in our home again...someone that just might bring the family together again, even just one time.
The very first time I saw the little guy, an anatomy scan the very day after I found out I was pregnant, I learned he was to be a boy. In that very moment, the literal second of it, I knew his name would be Sam too. It wasn't a conscious decision or anything that I had ever planned...it was just his name. On the ride home I ran it by my grandma and she liked the idea, which only confirmed what I felt in my very soul.
That doesn't mean that I expect him to be my uncle. My uncle Sam was one of a kind, and I hope my Little Sam will be too. I hope he'll be his own man and live his own life, but I hope the few things he'll learn from the legacy of my uncle is how to be a GOOD man, a good friend, a hard worker, know how to laugh, and laugh often.
There will be an extra stocking laid out tonight with the rest of ours. It'll be Sam's...one Sam or the other; one for the both of them. One for the spirit that is always with us, and one for the new little soul who'll join us soon, and who I hope can bring us all closer again.
In Memory of Samuel Lloyd Morse
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