Many of my fondest childhood memories involve camping trips with my Uncle Jack and my cousins. They would head up to Logan Lake from the Lower Mainland and we’d all head out to a nearby lake to spend the weekend fishing, shooting bee bee guns at beer cans and hanging out around the fire, roasting marshmallows and listening to my uncle and mom singing.
Uncle Jack was always one of my favorite people. He had a ready and warm smile, was hilarious and always left us in stitches. Since my mom died in 1999, I’ve lost touch with a lot of the relatives on her side, including Uncle Jack. I’d phone him once in awhile and catch up, but when I saw him last year at my cousin’s wedding, it had been over ten years since I’d seen him. However, when I did, it felt as though only a heartbeat had passed. He was a lot more gray, but he was the same old Uncle Jack that I’d always known and loved and he still had me in stitches.
When we found out he had cancer last year, I hoped that he would be strong enough to beat it, but, instinctively, my heart felt that he wouldn’t. I had a dream last night that I lived back in Logan Lake in our old townhouse and Uncle Jack came to visit. In my dream, my mom was sitting at the dining room table and Uncle Jack came in and sat across from her. They talked and laughed for awhile and then, abruptly, mom stood up, walked over to Uncle Jack and hugged him. She said, “I’ve missed you,” and they both walked up the stairs and disappeared and my dream ended. When I woke up this morning, I suspected that Uncle Jack was gone and, when I checked my Facebook, sure enough he was.
The truth is, when we heard that the cancer had spread to his brain, we all knew that it was just a matter of time. The truth is, after all that I’ve been through in the last year and despite the fact that I love Uncle Jack so much, I believed his death wouldn’t even phase me. The truth is, I believed that I didn’t have any more energy in me to grieve for anyone else except my daughter. The truth is, I was wrong.
I’ve spent the last hour thinking about the rest of my family and what they must be going through – grieving the loss of a husband, a father, a brother, an uncle – and my heart hurts because they have to feel the kind of heart-tearing pain that death inflicts on those left behind to grieve.
Greg and I have done our best to avoid Christmas this year – the first without Cora – but we’ve also made an effort to keep our spirits up and remember that we are still blessed in so many ways despite losing the most precious piece of our lives to date. We are still functioning on a day to day basis and working hard to remember to live and enjoy life despite the pain of grief.
I didn’t actually want anything for Christmas this year, just the strength to get through it, but I now have a new Christmas wish. I wish that my family will also find the strength to get through the holidays and that they, too, will remember to live and enjoy life despite the pain of grief.
RIP Uncle Jack. I hope you and mom are hanging out, ripping it up and that you are already planning your next adventure. We’ll all miss you. xoxox
Happy Holidays my friends. I wish you all enough…