Goodbye Uncle Denis

My Uncle Denis died on Tuesday after a courageous battle with Parkinson's disease. I am heart broken that my Aunt Rose Anne and my cousins and their children had to say goodbye to him so soon. I am sad for my Mom and her siblings to lose their brother. My Uncle Denis was very loved by his family and friends. I have the best childhood memories of being at their house and playing with my cousins. They hosted a lot of events and I am so grateful for every single one. I remember the Easter riddles we had to solve to get the big plastic egg that had money in it! 
The picture above is of the Ryken family gathered at the annual Fourth of July celebration. Uncle Denis is in the back with the baseball hat and glasses.  I remember the Denis-Look-Alike Contest at these gatherings. As the father of five boys, when my Uncle Denis finally sat down, he was ready to sit awhile. He would sit down, sigh loudly, take his hat off and wipe his face, take his glasses off, rub the bridge of his nose, then take a long swig of something and say Ahh! Several family members would line up to compete in the contest. It was always a good time.
My grandparents, Meck and Papa, with Denis, Dick and baby Karen.
The Charles and Margaret Ryken kids just a few months ago. Top row, left to right: Mom/Nana, a.k.a, Chris, Stephen, Laura and Richard. Bottom row: Karen and Uncle Denis. Uncle David must be taking the picture. My Mom was one of seven siblings --which made family events always so much fun! My grandfather was a twin, so very often the two, very large extended families got together to celebrate their birthday.  Most of my Mom's Ryken family resides in the Bay Area. Living at least two hours away in Sacramento, I have missed a wedding and few precious showers these past few years. I always wished as a kid we lived closer. I missed them so much. Although I know Tuesday will be hard, I am looking forward to hugging these dear people really close. They helped form me into the person I am today. Just knowing that I had so many people who loved me and were rooting for me, did wonders for my spirit, still does.

The Ryken family at Thanksgiving. Uncle Denis is in the top row, farthest one on the right. Now that is a gathering!!! It is time to plan the next family reunion I will do whatever needs to be done to help make it happen!

This is a picture of Uncle Denis and Aunt Rose Anne's beautiful family!! This was taken October 13 at Kevin and Rene's wedding.