My uncle died last night, of lung cancer. He was a good, good man and I will miss him dearly.
When I started writing there were 3 ‘D’s that I knew would be my main themes: divorce, dating and depression.
At the back of my mind was the thought that there was a bigger ‘D’ that someday I would write about. Something that knocks on everybody’s door. The scribe that writes the full stop that ends the story of every life.
I expect that many will wish to stop reading at this point. The very word on the page appears jarring. It evokes a reaction; it stirs something deep inside of us.
It is hard for many of us to confront the idea of death, yet it is perhaps what makes us most human. We stand alone amongst species, with the awareness of our own mortality and our realisation that one day – hopefully far in the future – we will breathe our last as the sands of our time expire.
When a loved one faces death we carry an enormous feeling of helplessness, of powerlessness. We wish there was something we could do, something we could say; some way that we could carry their cross. We may wish that we could take it for ourselves and spare the pain of our loved one, or spare ourselves the pain we will have to face in letting them go.
But we can’t. All we can do is be there.
The final journey is one we must all take alone. For some, life’s journey will end suddenly; for others that final path must be walked knowingly, towards what we do not know.
And although we can’t walk alongside our loved ones on that path, we can make sure that they will take with them life’s greatest gift; the one thing that they can take with them, the gift that we all have to offer.
Our love, and the love that they gave to us.
My uncle died as he lived, with great dignity, good humour, and the love of his family. When he needed us most we were there for him, and he will always be with us.
So goodnight Uncle H; God bless you and may you sleep forever peacefully in the arms of your beloved Mary.
Do You Realize?? – The Flaming Lips