Uncle Mac

Uncle Mac

My uncle Mac died this week. I also called him Uncle Denny.

Married to my mom’s sister, he and my aunt divorced long ago, but I never heard her say a negative word about him and they maintained a collegial relationship for the sake of their daughters and grandchildren. So though he faded from some family parties after the divorce, I still always thought of him as my uncle.

My cousins are understandably devastated, and I’m grateful I’ll be able to attend his funeral service via zoom.

I don’t have recent memories of Uncle Mac, but he gave me a fantastic childhood gift; a nickname. My parents had called me assorted nicknames all my life, and I loved that, but Uncle Mac giving me one made a difference in an important way.

Mom’s family, with matriarch Frosty, tended to view my dad askance. I didn’t notice specifics as a kid, but remember the tension (dare I say frostiness). It led to not feeling included or totally comfortable at family gatherings. Uncle Mac helped to ease that feeling in a huge way.

Uncle Mac gave me the nickname “Jeffiner Jones” and it made me feel so seen and welcomed and important. It’s what he always called me. It’s a huge reason I value and use nicknames so much. It’s a special connection that makes the nicknamed feel loved. At least I hope so. Certainly it did for me.

The shirt I had made for the family reunion.
Uncle Mac on the back left.

Here’s the rest of his story, but his legacy is the little girls sitting on Frosty’s lap in the front right of the photo.

I hope you’ve got a nickname or two in your life. If you don’t, let me know. I’ve got one for you. 💕💕