Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bon voyage, Uncle Junior

I received "the call" from my parents about 20 minutes ago -- my uncle died. He had lung cancer, and had been in a great deal of pain. He slipped in and out of a coma during the last two days, but maintained at least some awareness of who people where and that he was not alone. My main thought now is that he is with his beloved Cynthia, and with his father, and his two brothers who passed before him -- somewhere. We will be leaving tomorrow to drive down to the Florida panhandle to attend the funeral services. Ironically, my Mom's birthday is Wednesday, so maybe I'll get to be with her some on that day.

Mom said she was OK, that this was the best thing for him, and that she was happy he was not suffering any longer. My Grandmother was "OK", too, but this is the 3rd child who has gone on before her, not to mention her husband. Of the 8 children she had, 5 are left. Possibly also ironically, all 3 females remain and seem to be in good health. As far as I know, the remaining males are OK too. Mom said that Grandmother realizes that she doesn't have much longer to live herself -- she's 85-ish. But then again, one never knows. My concern for her is more that the grief will do her in, not some physical condition. But again, time will tell.

I phoned my brother to tell him the news, and I was so happy to have him to talk to. We have not always been as close as we are now, but aging does make one a little more concerned about the quality of relationships with family members. He was going to phone our youngest sister to inform her. Our other sister has already been told. Of us all, I was the closest to this uncle. I really couldn't tell you what kind of relationship the others had with him. They were younger than me, and really weren't of the age to spend time with his children, 3 of whom were girls, and 2 of whom were older than I. His son was older, too, so I am pretty sure the rest of my siblings don't feel quite as affected by this as I do.

Here is a fond memory of Uncle Junior. He was a Shriner. When I was somewhere between 8 and 10 years old, he came to town for a Shriner convention, complete with parade and all that festivity. He always stayed at the then-glamourous San Carlos Hotel, which was right on the parade route. When the parade time came, we'd meet him or he'd come get me, and we'd go downtown to view all the fun. After, he would take us to McDonald's, and let us get ANYTHING on the menu, as long as we would eat it. My parents would only let me order a cheeseburger or hamburger, so naturally with Uncle Junior, I'd order a BIG MAC, which was the newest thing on the block. I remember how special this made me feel -- like he thought I was worth giving whatever I wanted. I will never forget that. He always seemed so happy to see me, and always made me feel special. Special is a great thing in a little girl's life.

I will miss you, Uncle Junior, but say hi to Cynthia for me. You will both live on, at the best times of your lives, in my heart.

Your loving niece,

1 comment:

Purr said...

Your uncle sounds like he was a fabulous man. I'm glad you had him in your life. *hugs*