When the Cheerleading Stops

$_35In life we all face adversity, some more than others. We go about our daily lives and take many things for granted. Then you get the call that everyone dreads, that something has happened to a loved one or a very dear friend. The world briefly seems suspended as you process the information and you feel helpless. I recently got that call from my wife and I could barely understand what she was saying between the torrent of tears and sobbing. Her youngest uncle from her dad’s side of the family had unexpectedly passed away. I was stunned.

It sounds cliche when you hear “unexpectedly passed away”, but in this case it really was surreal. In fact, for the longest time I had incorrectly assumed his age. To say the whole family was in a state of shock is an understatement, he was the “baby” of the family. He was the one that would always want to organize family get togethers or vacations so that everyone could spend time together. He was the one that would walk around the table and make sure everyone had a drink in their hand or their plate was full of calories. He cared for everyone and didn’t discriminate between family member or the staff that worked for him – he wanted to make sure everyone was comfortable and happy.

Let’s be clear, this was not an uncle that I had known since childhood but he became part of my family when I got married. Yet, for days I was shocked and couldn’t believe what was happening. Then it dawned on me why I was feeling this way, he was really the cheerleader of the family. It didn’t matter what you did, he always wanted to get behind whatever you were doing. My wife is an architect and her first project was her uncles flat – his reasoning was she had to start her career somewhere so why not with him.

He was a cheerleader for me as well. Several years ago he heard that I co-founded a financial software company and he was insistent on paying for the software. The best part, his office staff had not even installed or used the software and yet he was asking me who to make the check out to. I was like easy tiger, let’s first make sure your office can benefit from it.

The world is already filled with negativity and it’s great to have someone that is your personal cheerleader. And when the cheerleading stops, that deafening silence is the most painful part of getting that dreaded phone call.

Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

From the song “Cheerleader” by Omi. Although the song is about dating, the song is so apt.

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