My Uncle Jim passed away yesterday about 4:00 p.m. He died of complications from leukemia that has been developing in his body for many years now. The irony of the situation was that he kept himself in great health otherwise... it was the cancer that claimed him in the end.
Thinking back on my memories of him, I can honestly say that 100% of them were good memories. Uncle Jim gave the gift of hospitality freely whenever I was around him. From my early years playing with my cousins to our last visit, he always took an interest in who I was and what I was doing, even when it was far removed from his area of expertise. Uncle Jim loved to be on top of knowledge and technology, whether it was knowing the most recent medical findings or having the newest headphones. I always enjoyed whatever new gadget or tidbit of information I would gain when I visited him. His vocation probably enhanced his ability to relate - being an OB/GYN doctor - he had to deal with the public, and had to deal with extreme joy with new arrivals and extreme sorrows when pregnancies failed.
I will miss Uncle Jim, not only because of his absence but because of his absence in the people's lives around him. I think primarily of Linda, who spent 24/7 caring for him for years while he deteriorated in health, and of Holt, his grandson, who is just on the cusp of understanding that his grandfather died. It will be difficult for both of them, first in this grieving time, then in the transition to continuing in life. I also think of my Dad. In losing his only brother he becomes the last remaining member of his nuclear family, and the patriarch of the Watts family. I think he'll be great at it, but it is a transition for him.
If you're reading this blog entry, please take a minute to pray for Linda, his children Brooke and Merideth Lynne, Holt, and all of our extended family as we remember Dr. James M. Watts this week.