“Read to me at the end, if there’s time, and if I fail to understand … read to me anyway.” Robin Behn
Read to me. Let me hear the voices of those who loved me at the beginning and the end. May words be an ever-present company both in farewell and in welcome … I hope he felt the same.
So this isn’t what I intended. I planned on writing something upbeat and filled with well-wishes. But since when does life care about what we intend or plan? In my experience … rarely. Life is beautiful, but sometimes it is so hard. So much more at times than is fair for some, or most.
My uncle died today. And somehow … the whole world just feels heavier. He battled cancer for over a year, but eventually, even the strongest of spirits get tired. And while sometimes it feels good to be sad … this isn’t one of those times. It feels somewhat tragically ironic that in a few days we will be sharing love and memories not only around a Christmas tree.
On days like this, when I hurt with what is missing, I try to create a scrapbook page in my memory … bits and pieces of things I never want to forget. And his page is filled with: half-smiles and quiet laughter, jazz music that never ran out, late-nights drumming, where he closed his eyes and got lost in the beat, and endless summers taking care of the yard without so much as one complaint.
He was a man of few words … but the words he spoke counted. He didn’t throw around compliments … but meant every word of the ones he gave. He had a tight-knit circle of friends … but the bonds they forged were as strong as family. And small as his family is … they were his whole world.
Author J.K. Rowling once said that, “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” So I hope my mother sees him in every expression of love between brothers and sisters. I hope my cousin feels his proud hand over hers as she guides and raises her children. I hope my aunt is so filled with memories that she hasn’t any room left for emptiness, and feels his presence in all the daily moments that made them.
If, in this season of love and light you too are experiencing the shadow of loss, I pray for your memories to overpower reality. Sometimes pretend is a place to stay … a sanctuary – so let yourself remember. Create a mental scrapbook page and pay attention to every deserving detail of the life behind the masterpiece. And while you’re doing so, know that the one you love still does … and absence is so temporary a distance.
In gratitude for the life my uncle lived, and the lives his love created.