Friday, July 31, 2009

Saying Good Bye

Photo courtesy of Uncle A's Christmas Greeting 2008
Tomorrow we are heading over to the funeral of our uncle who passed away this week. It is resurrecting old memories and blurry flashbacks to the time when my mom passed. He is her little brother ... a young uncle to me -- just 11 years older. And we shared our birthday -- something that I always felt was our secret little bond.

I do not want to get to the end of my life
and find that I just lived the length of it.
I want to have lived the width of it as well.

- Diane Ackerman


He passed suddenly, without warning, leaving behind a family in shock, grief and disbelief. He was a musical man, and all of our family get-togethers ended in him playing his guitar and leading a sing song. He would laugh as he played when we missed - despite trying so hard (in vain) to hit - those high notes. He was like a medicine man with his bag of tricks -- he could pull the perfect tune out for for every occasion. "Here's a tune I think you'll like!"

His voice was soothing and gentle and he sang in a high register ... like his beloved hero Gordon Lightfoot. He provided the musical soundtrack for my childhood and I think my family would agree.

It has seemed like an eternity since getting the news from my aunt last Monday. Tomorrow we will gather to say our final goodbyes. On this past birthday during our annual ritual call, he told me that he thought that at most he had another good five years in him. None of his siblings who had passed before him had survived 65 and he was concerned that his genes would dictate an early exit. He was right. He said then that he hoped that when his card was pulled that he would go with a drink in one hand and his guitar in the other. And I think he pretty much did.

Tomorrow we will celebrate the fun and joy he brought to the lives of all who knew him. We will recount his devilish little stories and grieve for the laughter and songs we won't hear anymore.

2 comments:

  1. I'd just like to say that I'm sorry for your loss, but glad that you have so many of those precious memories to keep. ...in a book I once read, someone had passed away and one character said to one in mourning: "...but imagine if you'd gone without them." The time we share with those we love is well worth the pain at parting.

    My fondest wishes go out to you and your family.

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  2. Thanks Carrie. Loss is the sad part of life that is inevitable. I think we managed to celebrate his living - in fine form! I appreciate your kind words.

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