When I was newborn, my mom had to stay in the hospital for a while, so I was sent to stay with my aunt Gisele and uncle Herman for the first few weeks of my life. (my dad's not really the kind of guy you make watch a baby, period ;-) )
That's when it started. Most godmothers and godfathers are these nice people who give you nice presents and you read them a new years letter once a year and that's that. I was luckier than that. My real godfather didn't really care to make a difference, don't think I've ever seen the man past the time I was a toddler. But instead I got my uncle Herman.
Nonk as I called him, was (and still is) a flawed man, big, strong, but likely to say stupid racist crap and homophobic nonsense, or anything else that he knew would piss me off. He woudln't mean it, not seriously, but he had this idea that pissing me off was funny. He'd be the kind of guy that'd start tickling you worse, when you begged him to stop. Or who'd try and annoy the hell out of you when he knew he was affecting you.
If this were any other man, I'd probably write him off.
But here's thet hing. Nonk was also the guy who'd soothe my tears when I was bullied in school. Him and auntie were the ones who'd give me all the attention that a kid needed. When my mom was working till I was in elementary school, auntie would come babysit us, and she was the one there for us, and me specifically when I needed her. Her and Nonk.
They were the ones I'd sleep over at, at least once a week, most of the time, I woudln't fall asleep, unless they'd let me sleep in between them, only to then wake up in my own bed in the morning. (and yes, I did spend enough time at their home, that I had my own room at their place at least until I was over eighteen and their son, my cousin was born.)
I was one of four kids at home, and often needed more attention than my mom could give me, but when I needed it, auntie and nonk were there to do so. Hell, when I was sick, my mom would tell me to go to bed, at most give me a bucket and that was that. My aunt on the other hand would take me to stay with them, let me stay on the couch during the day, and give me a bell to call her or nonk if I needed something.
If I got in trouble, I didn't call either of my parents, I would call Nonk and he'd come save me. Even as a teen or an adult, when my bike had a flat tire, he'd come save me, when my moped broke down, same thing.
Bad snow weather on the way to work? A call to Nonk and with a bit of grumbling he'd get up at five in the morning to drive me to work, even when he was working a late shift that day.
So when a guy like that, who was more of a father to me than my own father gets sick, then it doesn't matter how much he grumbles or nags, you do whatever you can to be there for him. Even if it means daily visits to the hospital, to the point that most of the nurses spent at least some time thinking I was his daughter. Hell, when it was just the problems with his feet, I was probably a more regular visitor than Bart was. (Bart is their son an my nephew) He's a diabetic, and lost half of one foot, and several toes ont he other in the past few years.
Sometimes, when more than I'd like, he'd say crap I utterly disagreed with, and he'd nag even more than my mom does, I'd have to struggle to hold in my temper. But there's some people you just put up with that from. No matter how annoying it gets.
Over a month ago he had one of those few weeks/months that the hospital would let him go home. He wasn't entirely right yet, but he was tired of being in the hospital all the time and got them to let him go home, with bi weekly visits to the hospital. During the night he must have gotten up, felt ill, and needed to go throw up. he was on the couch downstairs, watching television, possibly fell asleep there, or it happened earlier, we're not sure. He didn't reach the toilet, started throwing up before he got there. Our best guess is that he slipped over the vomit and hit his head. The doctors say he has three brain contusions. My aunt didn't find him untill the morning. She noticed he was out of it, but didn't instantly realize how serious it was. She called the doctor, and instead of to the usual hospital, he was taken to intensive care in Lier.
I can never begin to say how much it hurt to sit there on the second time I went to visit (which I could only do in the weekend, due to how hard it was for me to get to Lier on the visiting hours), and have him not even realize who I am.
Once he was stable he was taken back to Herentals, where he is now. During his first week there, the doctor responsible for the department he was in, said there was nothing to be done, they even mentioned that if he'd die, that they wouldn't do anything to bring him back. Luckily for all of us, he was removed from that floor and sent up, back to the fifth floor. The floor where he knew all the nurses, because he'd been there in various rooms for the past two years. Within a day he improved.
Last week, for the first time since the accident, he remembered my name again. He still doesn't remember everything, and he keeps forgetting things. But most of the time, he 'seems' himself again. But he isn't.
It's hard to explain what it feels like when you're happy he's actually angry at something. Even if it's something as stupid as us refusing to remove the board on his chair, that serves both to hold his food and keep him in his chair. But to know that he remembered what happened and why he was angry over it for the past two days is a huge improvement over the past month.
I miss my uncle, and as much as it annoyed me, I want him to start nagging again. To hear him say ' be careful', and have it be more than just an instinct, something he's always said. Something that would make him ask me to call as soon as I arrived, after driving back home to my mom and dad's place when I was a kid. It's weird to call one place home, when auntie and nonk's place was just as much my home as my parent's place was.
I just want him back, whining, annoying, infuriating, irritating and overly protective as he's always been.