He was terminally ill, but it just sort of happened yesterday. I wasn't expecting it quite so soon, mostly due to deep denial. This is going to sound way more emo than it is, given that my own childhood was better than 99.999% of everyone in the world, but Uncle Jim was the only grown-up who understood me as a child. He was my lifeline to the world of stupid fun geek stuff. He understood that is was okay to not outgrow thinking about faraway lands and spaceships and stuff like that. Uncle Jim was the first guy who ever spoke to me in that Long John Silver pirate voice we all use every September. He once told me he'd take a job cleaning toilets on the Enterprise just so he could zoom around in space. He was a fun guy and a good man.
Sometimes over the years I got the impression that some of my relatives thought I was a damn weirdo. It was never that way with Jim. And then there was the Thanksgiving that my friend Fred couldn't make it to his home for the holiday so I brought him with me. I got a distinct vibe that some of my relations started to suspect that I was gay after that. Which was kinda weirding me out at the time but in retrospect I find the whole thing pretty funny. So now I'm rambling.
I'll just end this post with this: Those of you or bought and/or downloaded Asteroid 1618, my Encounter Critical module, can look on page 2 and see that fake author "A.J. Putnam" dedicates the book to his uncle Jim. A.J. Putnam may not exist but that dedication is as genuine as anything I've ever written.