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Location: Northern California

Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


My Uncle Jim

This post is about a special person who has been in my life for a long time. I find it hard to write about special people. I want to do them justice with my words and it's easy for me to absolutely hate what I write. But I continue to write because as imperfect as it is, it's still the best way I have to express how I feel.

This post is about my Uncle Jim. He is married to my Aunt Mary so he's my uncle by marriage, as they say. I'm not the only one who thinks Jim is a special person. Certainly the rest of my family and all of his family do. Lots of friends and business associates and probably complete strangers think so, too.

The reason why I'm writing about my Uncle Jim is because last week he was hit by a car. He was standing in his driveway and a woman driving too fast for the icy condition of the road spun out of control and hit him. He has lots of broken bones and is in critical but stable condition. He is being kept under sedation much of the time while the doctors continually reassess his condition. Recovering from an accident like this isn't a cut and dried affair.

Jim is lucky to be alive but the people in his life are lucky he's alive, too.

In many ways, Jim has been like a father to me. He came into our family when I was 8 or 9 and I remember he had a motorcycle and a beard and he was a lot of fun. He comes from a big Irish Catholic family and they're a lot of fun, too. I was glad when my Aunt Mary married him in a big ceremony at the retreat center that he runs. My aunt and uncle have four kids and if I know anything about how to parent, I learned it from Jim and Mary.

The only time I can remember being annoyed at my uncle was when I was pregnant and overdue with Emily. I was complaining about my condition to him on the phone and he told me I needed to be patient. If you've ever been pregnant and overdue, you understand how I wanted to strangle him with a phone cord at that moment. The worst part--of course--was that he was right.

My Uncle Jim is often right. He is one of those rare people who have both intelligence and common sense. You can learn a lot just by watching him interact with others. He is a people person, respectful and commanding at the same time. He can work a room and give a speech like nobody can. I've never seen him falter; he knows what to say and the best way to say it. He has quite a gift.

My Uncle Jim also is a patient, kind, hard working, and gentle man. He certainly didn't deserve to be hit by a car just minutes after he finished shoveling his sidewalk and right before he was supposed to leave for work. I don't suppose many accident victims deserve it, but in Jim's case, it seems especially unfair.

Lots of people are praying for my Uncle Jim and I am, too.