my uncle died yesterday.
i am struck by the lack of emotion i had for the man and for his death when i heard… and even when i shared the news with other relatives. my J understood my lack of emotion, “Although he may not be missed, your clan is still a bit smaller” said he, so true. Even when we have no deep love for a relative, their passing signals to us.
Still, it was not until i sat to write about it today that a wave of emotion washed over me and tears came. Less for the man he was, i suppose, and more for the man he wasn’t… the one he could have been. His life was a study in sadness.
i was kept clear of him as a child; he wasn’t to be trusted with girls.
i remember only bits and pieces of him and those memories are stored next to the stories i’ve heard of the monstrous things he did.
This i know:
He loved country music and the drink; he spent as many Sunday mornings in the drunk tank as he did in church.
He loved women who always behaved a wee bit better than he did and when he had hurt them enough, they left him in turn. One shot him in the foot on her way out, and he limped forever after.
He was a mechanic who could coax life out of the deadest engine.
There was always an unfortunate mutt not far from his feet.
His skin was leathery from years of smoking and too much time in the sun he loved.
He failed at a lot in life, but he kept trying and when he burnt every bridge between him and his many family members, he created a fictive family on an island off the coast of North Carolina. That’s where he died. That’s where he will be buried.
i hope that he found peace and meaning in his life in the years since i saw him last.