A Celebration of Life | My Uncle Phil

I don’t really share a whole lot about sad things in my life, especially if they aren’t my personal struggles because I immediately then feel like I’m asking for sympathy for something that I am not directly affected by. For this post, I will break that trend to share with you a recent event I photographed for my family. My Uncle Phil has cancer, a super rare form of kidney cancer called Collecting Duct Carcinoma. They told him almost a year ago that he only had 3-6 months to live, and well, he already beat that! I am super hopeful that a modern-day miracle will keep him with us for years to come, but because his health is deteriorating, he wanted a “Life Celebration” with friends and family before he was too sick to have fun & dance.

I’m not going to lie, and I would have told anyone this… I was not excited about this shindig. I thought it would be sad, and my grandmother, mother and aunts would all be crying, and their would be sappy music…. etc. I do very poorly with crying, sad things, and generally addressing things that aren’t that great… The thought of a “Life Celebration” didn’t resonate with me either, but after being there, and it totally not being like that, I got it. I understood why, if I was sick, I could want something like this. There was dancing, and jokes, and a beautiful tree with all the photos of the guests on it (an amazing guestbook idea!)—it was a party, and fun party…not that lame-o party you leave after 15 minutes. We packed in to capacity in Bakers on Main in Guntersville.  Not every moment was happy, and there were tears, but I think most people will remember the fun, the laughter and the stories of “the good ole days”—and that was exactly the point. Even during the sad times you’ll notice the theme of the whole night plastered in chalk art that my aunt & uncle asked me to do for the event. He chose a little ditty by the Beatles you might remember…”All you need is love, love is all you need.” So true.

There were also a couple of money dances with my uncle that raised money for a charity that is close to him. If you want more information on this charity, you can check out Mano con Mano of Guatemala here. His party raised $1300 for Mano con Mano! The graciousness (and dancing skills) of people amazes me, daily!

I hope that these photos show the kind of celebration this really was, and I hope that in seeing these you’ll think of happy times, but also remember my uncle, and my aunt taking care of him, in your thoughts and prayers as things get harder, and there are more visits to the hospital, and long days ahead.

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Hope that you spend your days
But they all add up
And when that sun goes down
Hope you raise your cup

I wish that I could witness
All your joy and all your pain
But until my moment comes
I’ll say…

I, I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived

-One Republic, I Lived

We love you, Uncle Phil!