The last few days have been an interesting jumble of images and feelings. We lost another of our dear uncles. Uncle Jimmy was over ninety and had lived a long and productive life. Since his wife died a few years ago, he had prayed every night that he would just wake up in heaven with Bootsie. His prayers finally came to fruition.
My husband’s relatives came from far and wide for the funeral, disregarding the disruption to their normal routine of an unexpected death, dropping everything to support each other through one more passage. There was a new baby to oooh and aaah over, and two engagements to celebrate. Everyone was so happy to be together that the sadness was kind of overshadowed.
Some old grievances were put aside and ties were bound tighter as we honored Uncle Jimmy and celebrated his life with a beautiful service in my childhood church followed by Honeybaked Ham and caramel cake. There has already been talk of a “guys retreat” to honor the new head of the family, the last living member of the older generation. Time together becomes precious when you realize that next time just might not happen.
Walker declined to go with us, and I didn’t insist, because travel is simpler without accommodating his schedule and quirks. He was fine at home with his attendant taking him out and his sisters helping out. His laundry got done on time, and he found one more pack of Polaroid film as he shopped.
Just before we left, Walker came to the kitchen and asked that I deliver a message to Sister and Lucy.
“Tell Sister and Lucy that their father will always be alive as long as he lives in their hearts. Now you tell them that, okay?”
I did, and I think they’ll remember it when they are feeling their loss. I know I will.