Uncle Mike’s Legacy

Cate Augello

It’s November 2014, I’m on a work trip. We’ve bought a ticket for my husband to join me and as luck would have it, my aunt and uncle are in town visiting my cousin. I’m secretly pregnant. We walk around enjoying the sights, laughing and talking. Everything is just as it should be.


It’s March 2015, we’ve just received shocking news. Uncle Mike has brain cancer. The prognosis isn’t good.  He has a few months to live. We’ve counted the days out and if we don’t book tickets now, it will be too late in my pregnancy to go see him. The funeral is probably definitely not going to be an option for us. We book flights because nothing screams babymoon like “Let’s go visit my dying uncle.”


It’s April 2015, it’s warm and sunny in Texas as we head to their house. We aren’t sure what to say or how to act. Uncle Mike has always been a fun and adventurous uncle, hiking half dome with his two nephews just a few years ago, screaming embarrassingly loud on rollercoasters, just because. He has always oscillated between thought-provoking questions like What role does Jesus play in your life? to Do you think we should tip the canoe and soak everyone? We participate in some of their already scheduled activities.

Now we are headed into Fort Worth, where Uncle Mike had been a civil engineer for many years. As we sit discussing Bible study, my aunt and uncle are describing how their lives and marriage have been shaped by it. They encourage us to continue on in our studies. And then he’s pointing out the kids running through the water fountain, all the joy flowing out of them, it’s significant because he’s lost roughly 50% of his vision at this point. It’s all happening so fast, now my husband is running through the fountain fully-clothed to see if he can do it without getting wet. We are all laughing, a respite from the reality.


It’s May 9, 2015. Uncle Mike has traveled to his heavenly home. We were just with him; he was still living life to the fullest. He was still sharing his faith with everyone from complete strangers to his own family, just as he always had. He was still daring people to seize the moment, run through the fountain, eat the barbeque, and notice the beauty around us.


It’s July 2017, we’ve had a hard week. My mother-in-law has gone home to heaven after a very long health struggle. We’ve been planning a funeral, picking out a plot.  It’s been hard on all of us, especially our daughter who just turned two. We are sitting outside taking a few hours of rest before family starts coming into town for the funeral. The 2-year-old has gotten ahold of the hose, she’s spinning around in circles spraying water, laughter everywhere. Suddenly her dad is chasing her, trying to get the house, and it’s life-giving water flowing from that hose. I think of Uncle Mike.


It’s May 2018, it’s been three years and we continue to reflect on the profound impact that trip and time with my uncle have left on our lives. Are we boldly taking every opportunity to share the love of Christ with those around us? Are we taking our walk with Christ seriously?

Are we living in the moment, enjoying the beauty of it, despite the circumstances? 
Are we making the most of the time we have and not taking ourselves too seriously?
Are we taking every opportunity to run through the fountain laughing with the kids?

This summer, I’m determined to put down my insecurity and run through the fountains with my 3- year-old daughter. Uncle Mike would have liked that.

Cate Augello is a wife and a mom who lives in Connecticut with her husband and daughter. When she’s not running through fountains in the summer, she’s trying to dry out from sledding and snow angel making in the winter.  She occasionally writes at https://mymostlyaveragelifeblog.wordpress.com.