“It’s okay. He had been suffering a long time.”
I’ve said the words so many times this past week they’ve become a reflex and I wonder if I really mean them, if I ever meant them.
No, I did. And I do. But I’ve come to realized that a tiny voice in my mind has started to add, “But he will be missed.”
My uncle was a good person who never intentionally hurt anyone. Unfortunately he made some poor choices in his life that hurt himself, and I don’t think he ever realized how much it did hurt us to see him struggle. It irked the shit out of me to see him make huge strides toward a better life only to blow it all on another bad choice. In recent years he had finally showed consistent progress but I think I’d been subconsciously concentrating on what he had done that made me angry when he got sick because it’s easier to be mad than sad.
My uncle’s battle with End Stage Liver Disease ended last Monday.
It’s okay. He had been suffering a long time.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
At least until my bitch of a brain betrays me as it often does, and the memories came floating through.
Memories of my uncle making me pancakes when I was in elementary school and then me telling him that he couldn’t move away because who would make them for me when he left.
Of taking my grandmother and me to dinner at the restaurant in Virginia where he got his first job as a chef.
Of introducing me to “Interview with a Vampire”.
Of watching UFC matches at P.J. Whelihan’s and drinking Smithwick’s which I had never had before.
Of taking the injured gosling I had saved to the wildlife rescue because I couldn’t miss work to take it there. (He named it Matilda because she/he had a broken leg and “tilted”.)
Of going to see the Flyers.
Of watching my brother and him ride the roller coasters at Great Adventure.
Of him whispering that I looked beautiful as he passed me on his way to the podium to read at my wedding.
I tried to ignore them all, but grief is the piper who insists on being paid.
So it’s okay. He had been suffering a long time.
But he will be missed.