Sunday, September 20, 2015


My uncle passed away 18Sep15 after many years of fighting cancer. A few weeks ago I wrote him a letter. I share it here to remember a man who was the embodiment of the builder and to encourage everyone to take the time to tell those that matter that they do. Do it today. We are going to miss you Mike.

Uncle Mike,

Sorry this letter has taken so long to write. I've owed it to you for years, but I've kicked it down the road a long time, always thinking I was being "positive" and had no worry about running out of time or that you didn't need to hear me say it. Now, I realize it doesn't hurt anyone to take a minute and tell the people that have positively influenced your life that they are appreciated. I wanted to let you know how grateful I am for your helping me grow up and become who I am today even when you weren't consciously trying to influence me at the time.

Thank you so much for the things you've taught me. You've taught me the value of hard work, and to do things right and by-the-book, to get a high quality result that will last. You've also shown me that some times you need to buckle down and "get stuff done" even if you haven't done the thing before. This was evident in your encouraging young me (and even my kids) to stretch their abilities and accomplish real work on projects, not play work, but real honest hard work that they can be proud of.

Other times in my life you put your trust in me with your vehicles, while it may not be memorable to you, these events played a role in me growing to be confident and independent. For instance, I learned what pedals did what and how to ease out a clutch at idle in your truck outside that strip mall place we cleaned up. I learned what it was like to check out a truck before you buy it when you bought your diesel and you took me along. I took my first unlicensed solo trip in your car when tools or something were needed and I was the only one available. Along the same line, thanks for having me mow your lawn, I'm sure you paid me more than my work was worth at the time, but I appreciated having money of my own for the first time ever and this set me on a path of not being afraid to work hard for a living.

But most memorable is your caring young-at-heart attitude and hard working spirit. I know most of us Wrights can be perceived as loudmouthed know-it-alls (we usually do know a thing or two), but I think the way kids are always drawn to you demonstrates how warm, kind, and approachable you really are. I can't remember how many times you asked me to come help someone (I did help a few times) but I know that you have always been there to help someone with a roof or something else that needed fixing. This has set a bar for me in humbly helping others who need it. I hope that I have learned this lesson you've shown. Throughout you ordeal, we've only talked a few times about your cancer. And even those have been light and superficial. Maybe it was me being awkward or maybe it was me still feeling like I'm "the kid" and  it's such a "grown up" topic, but now I can't delay in saying I'm going to miss having my Uncle Mike around for a time, and while I hope that's a long time from now, if it's not, I'm thankful I know I'll see you again soon. And I know we'll be right back at work together. We often use Isaiah 64:21-22* to refer to equality in the new world, but I also know that you won't stop at just building a house for yourself. No, you'll be building far more houses than you'll occupy, I can't think of you not building stuff, or helping others build.

Thanks for everything you've built with, and in, me.

All my love,

*Isaiah 64:21&22"They will build houses and live in them, And they will plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. They will not build for someone else to inhabit, Nor will they plant for others to eat. For the days of my people will be like the days of a tree, And the work of their hands my chosen ones will enjoy to the full."

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry for your loss. It sounds like uncle Mike was a great guy.