Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Goodbye Uncle Junior

I just received news that my uncle has passed away. The man was a very rough, intimidating man. Mainly because he was short, he’s actually shorter than I am and I’m 5’3. We have all joked that he tried to be such a hard ass to make up for being so small. I was never close to him; in fact the man scared me so I avoided him as a small child. I can’t say I’m really upset, but I am sad. This is my Daddy’s big brother, my uncle, my blood and even though I never truly knew the man, I am sad that he is gone. It was only a couple of months ago that he was diagnosed with lung cancer. His wife and small son were not by his side. I don’t know his exact age, but I know he was in his late sixties.

A few years ago, my uncle found a wife through the internet or someway, in the Philippines. He decided to move there not long after meeting her. He and his new wife had a baby around the same time my son was born. I do not know his name or her name. This side of my family doesn’t keep in touch that well. When he found out he had cancer, he decided he was coming home for treatment. She and their son were to follow him as soon as the paperwork was processed. Not only is his passing a sad thing to deal with, but his new wife and baby were not able to say goodbye. I think that is the worst part. That baby will not know his father, and his wife only had a short time to enjoy being with her new husband. I hope someday to meet them, and actually get to know them. It is uncertain if they will be able to get here in time for his funeral, or if he will be buried in the Philippines. I hope he is buried here, with his family.

This funeral will make 10 funerals that I have been to since 1999. Some left me crippled with sadness while others just made me numb. My father has lost his mother, a sister, a sister-n-law, a brother-n-law and now his brother in the past 4 years. I have no idea how my father is feeling right now. I probably will never know. He keeps his feelings in check and you only get to see his anger. I know that is mourning, yet Daddy won’t admit it. His dad, his brother, his sister and brother-n-law have all died from cancer. All three were smokers; something my dad has always been against. His anger now is going to the family members that are smokers. Not that I blame him, in fact he knows better than most what happens. He was there to watch his father choke to death on his own blood. That horrifying image alone keeps me from those things. I know I can’t turn this into a look at me situation, but damn 10 funerals in 8 years has taken a toll on me. It doesn’t matter who I am paying my respects to, I start adding up the others that have passed. I end up bawling my eyes out for all of my loved ones who I didn’t get to say goodbye to. The ones I was so close to it hurts more than I can explain knowing I’ll never hear their voice again, or feel their touch. Even the one’s that I have lost like my uncle who I wasn’t that close to, I can’t help but be sad by the fact that I just lost someone who I never had a chance to get to know and I never will.

Goodbye Junior. I’ll miss the way you stared people down, daring them to even try to mess with you. I’ll miss the man who asked my husband “Are you taking care of our girl”. I never expected to hear those words from you. I never thought you even worried about me. I can’t say how much I appreciated that. Even my husband was moved by what you said. My dad spoke highly of you, even educating us on all of your home remedies. Although the rest of us thought they were completely insane, Dad always took your word to heart. You were his big brother after all, and I know even if he doesn’t show it, he will miss you. As we all will.

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