(Originally published May 5th, 2020)
May 5th - Today would have been my uncle's birthday. Uncle Steve was my mum's older brother. They were a few years apart in age but were close nonetheless. They went through all kinds of shit together both growing up and as adults and most of the time he had my mum's back.
'Bro Steve' was always the banker in Monopoly and the winner every time. No one could figure out why he had such a winning streak until this one time my mum realised that every time anyone passed go he would give them two hundred pounds AND give himself two hundred pounds. "Two hundred for you, two hundred for me". That explained it. Busted, cheeky bugger!
Uncle Steve was 'in oil', actually to be precise he was 'in seismic'. He found the oil, he told the drillers where to drill, everyone was happy. Always working in some far off country, he would come home for a couple weeks every couple months.
This one particular leave Uncle Stephen invited two of his co-workers back to England to spend their two weeks there instead of them flying all the way back to Canada where they were from. My mum was one of seven kids. Stephen had five sisters and a younger brother and it was during that leave that one of Stephen's co-workers met my mum, his sister. The rest they say is history.
One Christmas the local radio station organized a live telephone link up to family members who lived far away. I remember sitting on my grandma's chair arm listening to my aunt talking with my uncle live on the radio. He was totally English but because he had worked with so many Canadians and Americans in his life he usually had a North American twang when he spoke. I don't remember what they chatted about but I remember hearing his voice come through the speakers and thinking 'that's my uncle!"
Him and his older sister would fight over who would have me in their Trivial Pursuit Team. Usually Uncle Stephen would win me, but we didn't always win the game. He was SUUUUCH a bad loser. I knew back then that being a bad loser was a very unattractive trait in a person. Oh well, it always made for an interesting rest of the evening.
I loved my uncle and even though I rarely saw him I felt a strong connection to him. I loved that he'd flown the nest and worked away from his birth country in an industry full of interesting people from exotic places. I loved it when he would come back and visit. He'd get angry and tell me off each time he asked me what I wanted to do when I was older - 'air stewardess' I'd always reply. Boy, did he not want me to go into that line of work. Cutting off my right arm was used as a threat numerous times!!
Uncle Steve died two years ago after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. I hadn't seen him in over a decade but had had a few nice conversations over Facebook. I wonder what his opinion of my line of work, my interest in men's prostates health and overall sexual health, would be now if he was still alive?
So, in memory of my Uncle, whose birthday it would have been today, I am announcing my intention to spend the next chunk of my life focusing on prostate health, how it effects a man's sex life and libido, what role it plays in a man's 'water works' as he gets older, how looking after the prostate now can lower the risk of complications down the road, like the role of regular prostate massages, in keeping the prostate healthy and functioning at its best. And whatever else I discover along the way I suppose.
We only live once and I don't want to fritter away the next twenty or thirty years working for the man. I want and need meaning in my life. This is a big taboo for many people. I know that judgments and opinions on what and why I am doing this will flow my way. So be it. I'm doing my bit and I hope with international campaigns to bring awareness to men's health in general the attitude and stigma attached to prostates will slowly change.
"Happy Birthday Uncle Stephen!"