My uncle passed away this morning. It was not unexpected as he had been ill for a long time, but it doesn't make it any easier. It's just so final. Death. Dead. We try to lessen the severity of it with phrases like "passed away" or "no longer with us", but it's the same. He died. He's dead. It just sounds so harsh.
I was thinking of him yesterday as I watched the Grey Cup. I've never watched football on tv before, and I realized that the sound of the game triggered memories of him. Throughout my childhood, it seemed any time we went to their house, I could here the sounds of a football game coming from his tv room. He had his own little room in the basement with a big puffy recliner and football paraphenalia adorning the walls.
I should have visited more. We went to the hospital several times, but of course in retrospect I wonder why we didn't go more. I suppose because it's uncomfortable to see someone as such a shadow of their former self. The first time I saw him after I returned from China, I was shocked at his appearance. So skinny! He'd always been kind of heavy, and now he looked frail. One day visiting him, he mostly slept as we sat around his bed, talking amongst ourselves. I leaned over to give him a kiss goodbye and realized I had to be gentle. Little me, 5'3", 115 lbs, had to be careful not to hurt a 6' something grown man.
He was a nice man. My thoughts and love go out to my aunt and the rest of his family. And I know that whenever I hear a football game on tv, I will think of him, healthy and happy, sitting in his big chair, the sounds of his cheers and shouts reaching upstairs as we ate ice cream in the kitchen.