Monday, May 05, 2008

A Great Uncle

Today was both a very sad, and somehow also a pleasant day. This morning, together with assorted family members, I went to Midland for the funeral of my Great Uncle F. He was a great man, an all around wonderful human being.

He's been fading for a good longtime. Almost blind. Mostly immobile. But fading, and gone are such different things. And he's been such a fixture, that the thought of a world without him is strange, and wrong.

Last year he celebrated his 90th birthday, and this year he and my great aunt have been married for 65 years. 65. It is incredible. My great aunt M. is also in the twilight of her days. But she was there today. Graciously accepting the concern and love of oh so very many people it was overwhelming.

Uncle F. was one of those incredible people who lived life as if each day, and each person he met were special, and wonderful, and cherished. He was a high school teacher, and in one of the speeches at the funeral today, someone mentioned that he could tell you the name of every student he taught, as well as which class they were in, and where they sat. And I believe it. He was a consummate teller of tales. A remember and sharer of all things great, and all things touching. A joker. The life of every party. Even in the last few years, when his voice was giving him trouble, and he could barely see the other people in a room, he would be at the centre of the crowd, telling a tale of the good old days, or the bad old days, or something that happened or didn't. He was one of those people I can't remember ever saying anything uncharitable about anyone. He loved a joke, and he'd poke gentle fun, but always with respect and a twinkle.

He's been such a part of my life, and my mother's, brothers', cousins', aunts', etc., that I feel almost like I've lost another grandparent. And that is very sad. But to see all those other people today, who loved him too, and who had tales of their own to tell about our F. Well, that was something beautiful too.

Somehow, I like to think he's found some new place where he can sit around and entertain the crowds, sipping a sarsaparilla, munching a key lime pie, waiting for M., and maybe hanging out with my grandparents, having a grand old time. I hope so.

1 comment:

Canadian Economist said...

Thanks for sharing this. A wonderful post.