Last month marked an ending and new beginning in my family life. My uncle Jim Carr had passed away early in the morning of February 7th. It had been the first close death in the family since I was quite young. Uncle Jim, or Uncle “Elmo,” was a creative and life-loving spirit. Even in his last sick months of his life, he fought bravely and wholeheartedly, leaving much of his original ideas behind him.
Uncle Jim never liked doing things the “normal” way. Whenever he got an original idea, he ran with it! From his art to the way he lived life, he did things on his terms. He would walk around the house singing random songs about nothing, make food on the spur of the moment, or rant about anything you could get him started on.
When we leave this world, there are very few things that can leave a lifetime mark on the world. But Jim was a creative spirit, owning his own sign company for years. He wrote poetry, played guitar, and had his own form of artwork different from all else I’ve seen in my life. Not very many people are able to say that.
However, what was most intriguing about Uncle Jim was not the fact he did things unconventionally, but the fact that he thought in his own way. Too often we are pre-programmed to think a certain way and become brainwashed into a way of life and thinking. Jim thought and analyzed something inside and out without regard to what others thought about his opinion. In fact, the family joke was that he was an alien in mind, body, and spirit. There are very few people, including myself, that live with this quality.
All around, Uncle Jim was a completely different cat. Our family loved him dearly; but more importantly, he loved us very much too. He wasn’t a sappy, gushy kind of guy - he just did it, loving and taking care of his family because that was who he was. In conversations, our viewpoints could be shared without being judged. That was ultimately his greatest gift, one I admire and will always remember. One I wish to live with and embrace, living life the way I see it, no matter what others may think.