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article imageOp-Ed: My uncle taught me -- Life lessons after the loss of a loved one

By Alexandra Christopoulos     Jan 24, 2012 in Lifestyle
With this final week of January under wraps, I am reminded of what a reflective time this must be for many. A month into a new year, a new start. But for my family, sadly, the past few weeks have also been a time of sadness and letting go.
On Dec. 31, my uncle lost his battle with cancer. He would have been 57 this coming Friday. Like I said before, many of us are taught to look on with great anticipation as soon as the calendar turns over. And, in a lot of ways, I still believe there is a lot of promise ahead.
But perspective is almost always 50-50. With the holidays pushed out of our minds for now, the focus has switched once more onto self- image and self-improvement.
As soon as the parties quiet down, the final left overs have been re-heated, and the miles put on the car to drive to all the aforementioned get together's have been tallied up, it seems all too timely to want to better ourselves, and by extension, the world, once a new year is upon us.
For now though, I have to be honest by saying my world has come to a complete still. Perhaps later, I will want to shed those extra pounds, change my hair, or volunteer more often.
Not that change is a bad thing. Whether the goal is to strive for better health, to overcome a fear, set new boundaries, or to try something new, the time to make such decisions is up to the individual.
It's an encouraging way to look at the world and if my uncle Gus were still here, he'd probably push for a little more carpe diem. Never one to let a day go by un-seized, he always had a way of remaining positive.
My uncle was a kind, caring and compassionate man. While he could be thought to be stubborn sometimes, it was his fearlessness showing. And it was with this courage and faith that he fought cancer in life. For six years. he did not give in.
Although I am deeply saddened by his death, his spirit will always continue to inspire me. Even as he lay dying, he asked me never to give up on my dreams.
For years, I looked up to my uncle and in all my life, he never disappointed. He was the type of person who was always there for family and friends. What's more, you could never feel denied just by simply knowing him. He loved company and making others laugh. He loved music and photography so much.
Despite this, he never took himself too seriously and knew how to be there for others.
So, to sum it all up, he was a really genuine, down-to-earth person who showed me by example that we are all are surest guides. Just as important, his example showed me anything is possible if you remain true to yourself.
One of my uncle's favourite tunes. Your niece misses you dearly. Forever in our hearts.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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