Yesterday I attended my Uncle’s funeral. It was a hard day to say the least. I saw cousins I haven’t seen in years, they were all grieving the loss of the man who had raised them, nurtured them and taught their children vital life lessens. He was one of my favorite uncles when I was a child, but as he aged he became a little more outspoken than I cared for. This didn’t stop the fact that I was grieving for the man he once was. He always gave me the impression, as a youngster, that he was a jet-setter, a high-roller. He walked the line of alcoholism, but was fun-loving and care free.
I learned more about hot-rods from him than anyone else, as he owned a Oldsmobile 442 convertible when I was young and he allowed me to drive it when I was only 16. It was like living a dream. I loved that car, it’s pep, with the top down would always turn heads. My uncle was a free spirit when in that car.
Though he had a family of 4 daughters, that he cherished, his grandchildren became his pride and joy in his later years. He taught the ones that wanted to learn how to handle and shoot guns, he designed a firing range at his property in the country and taught concealed handgun classes along with my Dad. The two of them shared the love of guns and grew up only 2 years apart, which made for a great amount of companionship when neighbors were few and far between.
At the funeral, a graveside service, I witnessed his grandchildren fall apart, his children fall apart, but what broke my heart the most was to see my 86-year-old Father fall apart. It took me aback. I thought before the funeral that he had a grasp on things, but when they started playing Amazing Grace and my Dad broke down, knowing he had lost his life long buddy, it really tore me up.
If you have followed this blog, you know that I am not in good health. I lied to everyone there and told them I was doing good, when in actuality, I am a mess. Both physically and mentally. My mind rests on my Dad and his wife’s well-being as they are both in poor health, and this causes me a lot of stress. As for my body, the constant standing and walking to meet and greet everyone was very taxing. I have developed diabetic neuropathy in my legs and they are letting me know today just how much I am not allowed to do when it comes to walking and standing for long periods of time. It will take days if not a week to get my legs to stop hurting again. How many of you can function on a day-to-day basis with constant pain? It isn’t easy to carry on with such pain. Nor is it easy to carry this load of emotions that I have in my heart. My Dad was 2 years older than my Uncle and they both suffer/ed from the same aliment, COPD. As frail as my Dad was yesterday, I can only hope that he recovers from this loss and gets back to his physical therapy that seems to be helping his breathing a great deal. As for his wife, she tends to work herself to a breaking point to make sure others are well taken care of. I worry a great deal about her, she is my second Mom and I love her dearly.
I live out-of-town from my Father and must travel to get to him. This worries me. Thankfully one of my step sisters came into town and is staying with them for a few days to help them out. She is a gem and I’m so thankful for everything she does for them. When I am unable to be there, she can make it and take care of things that I would not be able to handle. If she can’t make it another step sister that lives closer can take charge. I am blessed to have them in my life.
I did get to visit with some of my cousins and see strengths that I know I will not have when I have to go through the loss of my Dad. One is particular has been through so much in her life and yet she was a pillar of strength. Yes, we cried together, but it was short-lived, we then visited about various things that warmed my heart. If she only knew how much I looked up to her, I think she would be surprised. As a youngster, I idolized her, she was the one I wanted to follow around the most, the one that I thought was the very best of all cousins, but she wanted to follow the older kids and I wasn’t allowed to. Her strength through her loss is amazing, and she will live with her Mom while transitioning into widowhood. This gives me comfort, knowing she is there to take care of my Aunt, who seems very frail right now. A quiet woman, but when she does talk, people listen.
I am so blessed to have the family I have. To be a part of such love and kindness, gratefulness and understanding. I hope that each of you that read this find some solace in any grief you may suffer. It is a hard thing to deal with, but it is necessary to heal.