My uncle died last night – this is my mother’s brother-in-law. He was 92, with 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. I didn’t know he had that many til I read his obit on line at the funeral home website.
He was an uncle I didn’t really respect or get along with. The feeling was pretty much mutual until I took over getting the farm house ready for a wedding. I scolded him. I told him off. I said he was making the place a pig sty. (They raised piglets at one point til the barn burned down). Somehow, that earned me his respect.
I regret that the years I spent not far from their home, I avoided the family. I’m not sure why. I spent so many fun but allergy-filled times at the farm as a kid. I had grown so far apart from my cousins, our worlds didn’t mesh. My husband felt very awkward around them. I liked my aunt, but couldn’t swallow all that went with it. My aunt still remembered then.
When my aunt’s dementia began to take away her facilities on the way to Alzheimer’s, to the shock of my mother and I, he stepped up and took care of things. A man who wouldn’t wipe his feet or boil water. A man who thought women’s roles where as wives and mothers, so men didn’t need to do indoor chores. You get the idea and I’ve written on this before.
So, farewell “Uncle Daddy,” as I called him when I was little and I’d go to stay. I remain proud of your efforts, even if I fought you over coming to see my mother before she died. I faked a few phone calls, to make you and my aunt feel better. My mother didn’t want to talk, then couldn’t talk.
You always made me feel awkward, but sending and receiving cards worked just fine for me. But then I’m awkward with people these days, especially on the phone. But I know that you are back with your beloved, and no longer alone and in pain. Fare-thee-well.