As many of you already know, last week on April 16, 2019 in Arizona our dearest Uncle Bill passed in his sleep. During his short time there, he was in the care of some wonderful family members talking about all the good times spent with each other throughout his and their lives.
As one of Uncle Bill’s God Children, I never knew a time where he wasn’t part of my life even though he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s some 3-4 years ago. He did the best he could throughout this time and my life to call on birthdays, holidays, and other special events. He was there sharing in these good times and even in the bad times including the final days of my own dads life.
In fact, I think I was about 10 when I realized that Uncle Bill was more than my God Father. That weekend that I spent with him changing the landscape of his yard was the first time, I realized if there was something you could be proud at a young age was hard work pays off in the end with a finished product. From that weekend on, we continued to share memories and stories. Memories of family vacations, reunions, dinners, and other events of enjoying each other’s company. These events combined with others would also continue to define who I would become as a person when he and my Aunt Kay moved to Florida to enjoy their retirement, as I attended school at the University of South Florida. These memories were not a coincidence and it’s not just me being selective in remembering, it’s because Uncle Bill was a good man and a man that AGAIN helped shape me into who I am today!
Even in his final years, months, and days Uncle Bill made every attempt to do right by his family and friends. Sometimes that meant he would call, visit, or help in any way he could with advice, new perspectives, or financially. He was an inspiration to many with his contagious smile and enthusiasm for life. He made differences in the lives of almost everyone he came into contact with. He was an example of what a true man can be, what a family member can be, or what a friend can be. Now that he is gone we must all learn to grieve for a man that gave everything to all those who knew him. Grieve that he is now reunited with his mom, dad, wife, brothers, sisters, and friends that have went before him.
Although there may be a hole left behind by Uncle Bill’s passing, he will never be forgotten because he filled mine and other lives with memories of happiness and joy. Grieving must remind us of how memories of how hard work pays off. Memories of how time never stands still. Memories of personal triumphs and struggles. Memories of how Uncle Bill touched each one of us and how he helped shape our lives in the past and in the future.
I ask for all of those who knew Uncle Bill and even those who did not that you remember him in your prayers. Let heaven accept this great man and reunite him with others who went before him. My heart is broken but on this Easter Sunday, I pray for Uncle Bill and all those others that I am lucky enough to have or had him as a friend or family member. Please tell those you love how much you love them because we never know when the last time will be that we have to say it. Continue to be strong and enjoy your time spent with each other, so when it is our time to go we know we have not left any stone unturned in our own voyage to the heavens. Give thanks for memories of your past and continue to make memories for the future. It is all these memories (good/bad) others will remember in the end when you are gone. Memories my friends and family are what we have to give, so never stop giving, never stop creating, and never stop telling others how much they mean to you. God bless all and RIP our dearest Uncle Bill!
From left to right “Uncle” William Albert Dandaneau, “Dad, Grandpa, Uncle” David Alexander Dandaneau & “Son, Nephew, Uncle” David William Dandaneau