Sunday, March 8, 2009

More than Words

I'd like to think that words can be used to describe everything, but there are just a few things that can't fully express how you feel. Ever since I can remember, my great uncle, more like a grandfather, has been a part of my life. His ethnic Ukrainian face, the choice phrases he liked to say like, "I'm gonna' smack you on your dupa!" and the big bear hugs, were both treasured and taken for granted.

He was like some sort of superhero figure, the one that was there to bail you out if you needed something, the one who always said what he thought and never held back- a true member of family. Someone who would never go. Seeing him rest there in his WWII uniform with his eyes closed and all of those perfectly charming bits of his personality flown to some other place, I felt the usual sadness to let him go, but also the enjoyment and fulfillment of what he brought to everyone in the room. We shared stories of how he played with his grandnieces and nephews wrestling on the floor, how he never left a conversation without mention of those damn cockroaches, and all the times he made us laugh.

I'll never forget the time when my brother Johnny came down with appendicitis, and Uncle Charlie came to visit him. I was three or four at the time. As soon as I saw him turn the corner I yelled, "There he is!" not caring who I bothered in the process. I ran to him and threw my arms around his neck. He smiled that great big genuine smile of his, and he always reminded me of that moment and how happy I was to see him.

I will always remember my Uncle Charlie for his endless knowledge, strength of character and commitment to family. The way he answered the rotary phone well into the 2000s with a "yellow!" and how his face lit up like the sun when he smiled. Not just an uncle- my Great Uncle! I love you Uncle Charlie always and forever, and I know you're finally with your beautiful daughter and the rest of our family reunited and happy. Now it's their turn to finally say "There he is!"

Charles Kosmyna
January 12, 1919- March 6, 2009
Beloved Great Uncle