I had a lot of ideas about what my next post would be, but then life intervened, as it does, and so here we are.
My nephew, Luke Perkins, died on the evening of November 30. He was 13 days short of his 31st birthday, and died from complications related to Cystic Fibrosis.
I could easily use this space to bitch about the disease that stole Luke from us, but I don’t want to dwell on that. What I want is to celebrate his life.
Lucas never let CF beat him. Even in death, his spirit has not succumbed, I can promise you that. In the wake of such a diagnosis, many families would have rolled over in pain. Not Luke’s. His parents and older brother Tony (who also has CF) faced into that particular shit-storm determined to make the best of it. Not once was Luke (or Tony for that matter) ever cautioned not to try something, not to do something, to take it easy. It wouldn’t have done any good because that wasn’t Luke’s way.
He was a warrior-born and embraced life by grasping it hard in both hands. When most little kids are just venturing nervously onto bicycle training wheels, Luke grabbed his brother’s two-wheeler, hauled himself aboard (he couldn’t reach the seat) and rode off down the driveway. That’s the perfect example of how Luke approached life, eating it up in big bites.
He was stubborn….opinionated….determined. He was also loving….devoted….loyal. We saw each other rarely, but each time he’d give me that little smile and a quiet “Hi, Aunt Missy” and a hug. I cherish those memories, and so many others.
The best Luke stories will undoubtedly come from Tony, as well as his other friends – the folks with whom he hunted and fished, rode motorcycles, and fought fires (yes, he was a member of a volunteer squad before CF put and end to that). He loved animals and the outdoors and video games. He loved his family, the mish-mash of great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. He loved his brother as his best friend, so close that in some ways they remind me of twins.
He was a stellar act. The world was fortunate to have him, and it’s our great loss that he’s gone. I will love and miss him every day.