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And then he was gone...

Discussion in 'Misc. Vegas Chat' started by PSM, Dec 4, 2019 at 12:08 PM.

  1. PSM

    PSM High-Roller

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    I know that this is probably not the place for this kind of post but I'm at a loss right now in a very difficult place and need to write down my thoughts and share with those who might understand. I apologize if it's inappropriate, as this message board is generally a place to be happy and get excited about Las Vegas topics, but it's oddly the one place that some people will understand, I think.

    My uncle and I were always very close, ever since I was young enough that I wasn't really forming vivid memories. He was in his 20s when I was born and for as long as I can remember, he was the coolest person I knew. He was my godfather and we always had a close bond, more like best friends than anything. Just about every serious hobby I have to this day is something we shared closely, as we both had the same passions in life. Music, bands and concerts, instruments, cars, racing, baseball, and more. My career path is what it is because of the hobbies he introduced me to at a young age.

    When I was 21 graduating from college, with him knowing that we were always enjoyed the same things, he asked me to take a trip with him to Las Vegas. One of his biggest passions was gambling and, in particular, video poker. He loved Las Vegas more than just about anywhere.

    We went on my first trip to Vegas in 2006 and stayed at the Sahara, his favorite hotel. It was one of the best vacations of my life. We paid to race cars every day at The Drive hosted by GM across the street, a temporary race track they setup to showcase their new vehicles, and we both love cars. He showed me Red Rock Canyon, where I eventually got married to my amazing wife who now also enjoys trips to Vegas almost as much as I do. We ate at great restaurants like House of Lords and Casa di Amore and saw great concerts. We went downtown and experienced Freemont Street. We stopped at Stratosphere and went on the rides (well, he watched and I went on them). We drove out to Hoover Dam and even all the way to see the Grand Canyon, although we got stopped when the road we took was too difficult for the rental car we were in and decided to head back only 20 minutes from the canyon, a funny story all these years later. By the end of the trip, I was hooked on Vegas.

    My uncle and I went to Las Vegas again in 2009 and stayed at Excalibur this time, even though he preferred off-Strip. He knew I wanted to stay on the Strip and conceded so I could experience that end near MGM. I had my first "big" hit on that trip the first morning we were there with Aces/kicker on double double bonus quarters. Considering my budget at the time, it basically paid for my part of the trip. We revisited some of the same places from our last trip but also tried some new ones, such as Valley of Fire, Red Rock Casino, and other off-Strip casinos. Again, it was great to be in Vegas with the person who introduced me to it and taught me how to play video poker, something that's one of my favorite things to do all these years later.

    The last trip my wife and I went on to Las Vegas for this Labor Day 2019 as an anniversary trip, I finally hit my first royal flush, and then a second one the next day. Of course, my uncle was the first person I sent the pictures to, as he would understand this momentous occasion more than anyone. I've talked to him every day or two since I can remember with never more than a week or two lapse here and there if one or both of us would get busy with work, family, and life. Even though he still lived up north and I moved to Texas years ago, he was my best friend. I just got to see him on this Halloween when we both went to Florida for my brother's wedding and he got to spent time with my toddler son who is named after him.

    Yesterday, I got the call that my uncle took his own life. I am at a complete loss and am not even sure what to think or do right now. Everything in my life, every passion I have, story about my son, concert I go to, trip I book, everything that excites me, always ends with me calling him to share the planning and then experience. And he did the same with me. We both "got it" when exciting things happened that were so awesome you had to share but no one else you knew was really into that particular thing. It is a shock to everyone who knew him from his wife to his parents - my grandparents - my brothers, my mom and other uncle (his brother and sister), and me. We are a very close family and, while we all knew he dealt with anxiety, we have no real answers that make sense for what happened and how.

    This all comes less than 9 months after one of my closest friends down here in Texas also took his own life. That happened in the spring and was probably the worst experience I've ever been through. Nine months later and I felt like I was finally getting to a point with that loss where it didn't hurt so much to think about the memories in a fond way. As horrible as it was, I thought I had learned something from it, that I might be able to somehow spot signs so it wouldn't happen again, and hoped that I would never have to deal with something like that again in my life, especially not with someone I was that close with. I had no idea it would not only happen again so soon but with someone as close as it gets outside of my wife and son.

    I am teetering now between total numbness and extreme grief over the past 24 hours and it's making it worse to think about what my grandparents and mom are going through, losing their son and brother so unexpectedly and in such a terrible way that they won't be able to see him again even at a wake. I am trying to process that myself, that I will never see him again, not even in a coffin. He is gone. I had so many plans for things we would do in the future, time he would get to spend with my son and my son getting to know the awesome person he was named after and who was so important to me.

    While he and I have been to many casinos together in the northeast and Florida since our trips to Las Vegas, we haven't made it out there together in ten years. I had always suspected that at some point in the future, when the timing worked out for both of us, we would get that third trip together. He'd want to stay off-Strip this time, and of course, I'd concede on this one. Maybe Red Rock Casino, which we both loved. Maybe M Resort or South Point. He always wanted to see South Point and I got to on one trip but he never did.

    For this trip, we'd cruise the Strip playing those old live Rat Pack records. We'd spend months planning and talking and researching the cool off-Strip casinos and restaurants that we just had to check out. We'd do another hiking trip to Red Rock Canyon. We'd maybe even do one of those track rental events where you get to drive an exotic car on the track. The last thing he did before this happened was to buy his dream car, a Shelby Mustang GT500. He's always talked about owning one and it was basically his life's goal. We spent hours and hours over the past months talking about this car he was looking at and then finally bought, knowing it was a "rest of your life" kind of car, not like those lesser Mustangs he owned in the past. On our last trip to Las Vegas in 2009, we even stopped by the Shelby factory, which was closed, but took some pictures of those GT500s they were working on. He always loved Fords and Mustangs but that's when he got hooked on someday owning a GT500. He finally got his dream car ten years later and had only a few weeks to enjoy it.

    I don't know why I'm posting this or what I'm expecting from it. I guess I'm just trying to connect with those who might understand, those who might have a Vegas companion, someone they learned to play their favorite table game or slot with, someone who Vegas wouldn't be the same for if they lost that person. It doesn't matter that many of the trips I went on to Vegas since then weren't with him or some of his weren't with me; like so many other passions we had, we lived vicariously through each other's experiences. He's planning a trip? We're both researching and talking every day to make plans. I'm going on a trip? I'm sending pictures of wins or talking to him on the phone so he can hear the casino ambiance.

    This seems like such a petty and insignificant thing to be thinking about right now but maybe it's sticking in my mind so much because it's such a strong example of how so many of the things I love in life will never be the same again; I'll never experience them the same again. How can something like planning a trip to Las Vegas or hitting a four of a kind be enjoyable now or do anything but bring on the pain of this loss? There will be no one on the other end to send that picture to the next time I hit a royal flush or get a big slot hit. He won't be there.

    I'm sorry for anyone reading this who thinks it's inappropriate or it doesn't make sense. I can't make sense of much right now. I thought I had 20 to 30 more years of making memories with my uncle and watching my kids get to know him, as my wife and I just found out we have a second child on the way when we went to my brother's wedding a month ago. But that bond between him and my kids will no longer happen. My son is too young to remember meeting him the two times it happened and my second one is only just on the way.

    Cruising with him to a casino back north in his dream car, blasting our favorite music will not happen. Concerts with him and sharing my latest songs or musical discoveries with him will not happen. Sending and receiving pictures of video poker wins at random casinos will no longer happen. The very last text I got from him was a four of a kind hit he got on a 100-hand double double bonus machine while he was visiting his wife's family for Thanksgiving. And that's how I'll always remember him.

    But that's all I have now are the memories, and they are so painful. I tried writing down memories of him in a journal to myself earlier today but felt so alone with it that I couldn't bear to do it. So I came here to share some of the Las Vegas and gambling memories I have of him. And to vent. And I was able to get this far with it. Perhaps if it makes sense some time soon I can post more memories and pictures from those two early trips and other casino visits so that I have something to come back to and read in years to come, remembering what I can now so I can share the memories more vividly with my kids and family later on. I don't know what else to do with myself and aside from my wife and son, all of the rest of my family is in other parts of the country.

    Please don't feel obligated to post anything but if you do feel like saying something, any words or memories or experiences of your own would be welcome right now. I have very little I can do right now to distract myself that won't bring up memories and make this that much more painful in the early stages of trying to figure out how to deal with this.
     
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  2. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    Sorry to hear about your loss
     
  3. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    I am so very sorry for your tragic loss. I hope that, in time, all of your wonderful memories will bring you some comfort.
     
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  4. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    My deepest sympathies for your tragic loss. One of the best parts of this board is that it's really a community comprised of caring individuals. It often functions as a way for its members to release or vent personal issues and feelings. I sincerely hope with the passage of time, those painful memories will turn into fond remembrances that will bring a bit of a smile to your face. I hope you'll be able one day to allow your relationship with your Uncle and friend to live on, through you, through those very memories and share them with those you love. Your thoughts are not petty or insignificant, but real and valuable and sharing them with us demonstrates how meaningful they are to you.

    Best wishes during this time of sorrow...your thoughts are a sobering reminder to us all just how precious life is.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019 at 12:52 PM
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  5. alanleroy

    alanleroy Click my avatar

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    Sorry for your loss. We lost my wife's uncle a few years back. We met him for fun times in Vegas on many occasions. Every time I've visited since then I make it a point to toast 'Uncle David' at the Vue Bar at the D.....which was one of his favorite places in the world.
     
  6. smerrian

    smerrian View from Bally's

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    So sorry to hear about your loss. Share your passions with your children. Talk to them everyday about your and their passions. One day you'll be the hero sharing your love of music, concerts and casinos with your minions and can be proud you've followed in your uncle's footsteps.
     
    Unexpected Craps Tourney
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  7. Rodent Pack

    Rodent Pack S.S. Minnow

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    My condolences for the terrible loss that you and your family are dealing with at the time. I wish I could offer words that could comfort. Just know that we are holding you in are hearts and that you'll be able to have moments where your time with your Uncle will bring you warm memories.
     
    On the quest for the perfect cocktail
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  8. Valgal

    Valgal Interesting and rude are not the same thing.

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    So sorry for your loss. Sometimes our closest friends and family don’t share the pain they deal with inside because they love us that much. It sounds like he shared the best things of his life with you to treasure.
     
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  9. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    @PSM I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your uncle. I just lost my favorite uncle, too. Although painful now, the memories of him will be things you can cherish and share with your kids.

    I sincerely wish you peace and comfort at this time. You and your family are in our thoughts.

    Respectfully,

    RICHARD and family
     
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  10. Ty

    Ty ?

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    Sorry to hear about your uncle.
     
  11. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Sorry for your loss.

    I was in a similar situation but for me it was guilt. About 12 years ago I had a friend. She always was in a "crisis" situation. One day she called while I was at work and I blew her off because I had work to finish. Because she was always in crisis I was used to her wanting to talk all the time but I was really busy at work that day.

    A few days later her husband called me (he knew his wife and I were long time friends) and told me that she took her own life. Even today I feel a lot of guilt that I blew her off in her time of need.


    I wonder if your uncle had some kind of health problem or some other issue that was a reason for him taking his life. I am 62 and if I have a life threatening problem when I am in my late 70's or 80's or older I would probably take my life too. If the qualify of my life goes downhill or if my mind or body goes I really don't want to stick around to suffer. Guess that's why I have a gun collection or I live on the 25th floor, easy to just.... well, you know. My uncle had cancer in his 80's. He declined doing anything to prolong his life and he passed away a few months later so that's what I also want to do.
     
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  12. Nittany1

    Nittany1 VIP Whale

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    Very sorry for your loss.
    Hold on to the positive memories.
    A close friend took his life a year ago after struggling with severe alcoholism for years.
    Still very painful for all of us.
     
  13. Feedyourhead

    Feedyourhead Tourist

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    I am so sorry you lost someone so important to you. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your uncle. Just reading this he reminds me of my brother, and I hope so much that my 3 year old can have a close relationship to him one day like you did.
     
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  14. flyguyfl

    flyguyfl VIP Whale

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    Thank you for sharing your feelings with us who don't deserve that honor. You had a great relationship for many years and I suggest you concentrate on that. I have know military guys who took their own lives and wondered as I never considered it.
    In the end we all end up without life but yours has been blessed by knowing him so well. Sorry to hear of his passing but do remember him and the good times as his life had a good influence on yours.
     
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  15. Geogran

    Geogran VIP Whale

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    Heartfelt sadness and sending condolences to you @PSM and your family. What a wonderful life experience you and your uncle shared together, I was very touched that you could share those feelings with us. Hold those memories close to you; your uncle will always be at your side.
     
  16. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm not sure what I can say to you that will help, because I'm not sure anything really can. The added dimension of suicide makes it seem even more of a loss, I know. :( Please know we are here for you.

    And if anyone is having any kind of thoughts of suicide, please know there are people out there who will help you. Please call 1-800-273-8255 right now if you need some help. Or you can chat online and find other numbers for Veterans, other languages, etc at this website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/
     
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  17. kkinwi

    kkinwi VIP Whale

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    I have no words......just sadness in my heart for what you are going thru
     
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  18. miss_sonja

    miss_sonja High-Roller

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    I'm so very sorry for your loss. I'm glad you shared here--I think it's definitely the right place--we get it.

    I lost my mom to suicide over ten years ago. The not knowing why is so hard. My third child never got to meet his grandma--it really really sucks.

    My prayers are with you--may peace find you and your family.
     
    Taking the Sweetie to Vegas
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  19. Marky147

    Marky147 VIP Whale

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    Sorry for your loss, PSM.

    Hopefully you and your son will get to enjoy fun times in Vegas and elsewhere, just like you and your uncle did through the years.

    Thoughts with you.
     
    Going mad @ Nomad
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  20. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    Writing about what happened, about how you feel, about how much this person meant to you.

    You did the right thing. Writing it out starts the path toward healing.

    My prayers go out to you and your loved ones, that you may find the strength to see this through.

    Take care.
     
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