We hope you all will feel inspired after reading this to contact a family member you haven’t spoken to in a while and tell them you love them. This challenge is in honor of our Uncle Mike.
Big 3 Take Aways
We challenge you to contact (write a letter, email, or call) 4 different extended family members or loved ones (who you don’t already contact regularly), once a week for a month.
Strengthening your relationships with extended family is another way to fortify your immediate family.
Make lasting memories with your relatives and always appreciate the acts of kindness you receive from them.
Our hearts dropped when we heard the news. Uncle Mike was in a bicycle accident, was unconscious, and being rushed to the hospital. We immediately gathered our children together and Ammon (our 6 year old) offered to say the prayer.
“Please bless Uncle Mike right now. Please help him not to be in pain and let him know how much we love him. We want him to get better. Please bless him to get better. PLEASE. Bless his family, too.”
About an hour passed and we were all anxiously awaiting a phone call for an update. The phone rang. Chaz answered it and immediately could tell it was not good news.
On the other end of the line he could hear the choked-up voice of our good friend and cousin, Sterling. He was driving with his cute family to our house for a visit during a break in his Marine Corps Officer Training.
Chaz asked, “How is your Dad, is he going to be okay?”
“What? Wait, what?” Chaz thought he didn’t hear him right, surely he’s not gone, not his Uncle Mike who had survived a heart surgery, lived on multiple continents, is passionate about fitness, and is one of the most resilient men he has ever known. Surely he had heard wrong.
“He passed. My Dad just passed away.”
Sterling’s voice broke as he explained that he had been the one to call and notify his family members that their father was not coming home.
He would not be able to give the football presents he was planning on giving his grandsons for the Texans-Patriots game.
Nor would he be traveling up from Texas that next weekend to visit his children.
What about that trip to Disneyland that was in the works?
Or that date his wife was just getting ready for while he went for that quick bike-ride.
He was gone.
The Passing Of A Family Member
Chaz hung up the phone and looked at his family. Our kids were smiling awaiting the good news that prayers had been answered and he was going to be okay. How could he tell them what really happened?
Chaz swallowed hard and whispered to his children, anxious for an answer, “Kids, Uncle Mike is gone. He didn’t make it. He died.”
The kids couldn’t believe their ears, “HE DIED!? BUT WE PRAYED! WE HAD FAITH! THAT CAN’T BE TRUE!”
Tears flowed from our eyes as we tried to comfort the children. “I know we prayed for Uncle Mike to get better but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. We had strong faith that God would hear our prayers and Mike would be okay but we also have to have faith that God has a plan.”
“Kids, Uncle Mike is not really gone. Do you know where he is?”
The children all nodded and said, “He is with Jesus.”
We continued to discuss with the kids that God loves each one of His children. He was proud of our boys for having faith and praying for their family member. We told them that God will comfort Uncle Mike’s family and that we will all feel of Uncle Mike AND God’s love at this time.
We spent the rest of the evening recounting memories we had with Uncle Mike.
“Did you know that Uncle Mike visited us when we lived in Alabama? He and Sterling came for the 4th of July and we watched the fireworks together. Uncle Mike also made us the BEST dinner. He always cooks for us when he visits and we love it.”
“He also helped us out in time of need. We were in the middle of a move from Alabama to Kentucky when our car broke down and we had to leave it. We couldn’t go back to get it because Daddy was leaving for training and Mommy was pregnant and it was too far a drive by herself. Uncle Mike and Sterling came to the rescue and drove all the way from Texas to get our car and drive it up to our new house. When they arrived, Daddy had already left and there were boxes EVERYWHERE. They helped Mommy unpack and mounted our big TV on our wall.”
“Almost everywhere we lived they came to see us. Even when they were traveling to see their own kids Uncle Mike and Aunt Annette would take the time to come and see us. Remember last year? They came to visit us here and we made our gingerbread houses together! It was so much fun and we were all laughing and having fun.”
The kids smiled at the last memory. Then Rayce said, “But you aren’t his kid.”
“No, we are not his kid. But he loves us. Uncle Mike loves his family- even his extended family. He watched and cared for us all.”
The children were satisfied. Their hearts were full and their troubles were mostly washed away. However, Marek said one last thing, “It is still sad though. I am still sad.”
Death is complicated.
It’s a hard concept for kids to understand. Heck, it’s a hard concept for ADULTS to understand. Nevertheless, it is a part of life and the fact that we know our time on this earth is finite helps us appreciate each moment we have with each other.
Thank goodness for Uncle Mike’s wisdom, his big heart, and his powerful example. He loved his family and would call his children every day—even his in-law children. Family to him was not just his immediate family members, he opened his home and his heart to everyone, including our family.
We challenge you to be like Uncle Mike.
Love your family.
Cherish your time together.
Build lasting relationships now.
We want to dedicate this challenge to our dear Uncle Mike.
Reach Out To A Family Member and Tell Them You Love Them
We challenge you to contact (write a letter, email, or call) a family member or loved one (who you don’t already contact regularly), once a week for a month. It can be the same one, or 4 different family members!
Tell them how much you love them, recount a memory you’ve had together, and share gratitude for your relationship.
Uncle Mike, we love you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your exemplary life and the blessings you brought to our lives.
Who did you write to? Tell us in the comments below or tag us in instagram @challengemyfamily!