4.14.2012

Mourning

Even though I'm writing this on K Day, I'm working on my M Day post, because a beloved uncle died yesterday, and my family is mourning.

I can't focus on things I had planned to do today.  I just want to write.  And reflect.  And talk to my mom (who lost her brother) and my cousin.  And my siblings.  Both my brother and sister are traveling today, so we're sharing our thoughts by way of electronics.

My siblings and I lost our brother when he was 23.  We didn't have a full life with Greg, so we don't have the memories and the shared events that my mom and her brother had.  My uncle Bud was 90.  Think about what all transpires over 90 years.

Uncle Bud was kind, soft-spoken and handsome to boot.  He was a strong, noble guy who loved to show his nieces and nephews new gadgets and games.  He played the mandolin, and he played horseshoes.  I didn't know any other uncles who did those things, so that made him pretty cool.

While we were visiting his family one summer, he pointed out the hot sauce on the kitchen table and how it contained even the seeds of the peppers.  I thought he had to be the bravest guy around, to eat the seeds of a hot pepper.  From that day on, in my ten year-old eyes, he was fearless.

I am so grateful I saw Uncle Bud last month at our family reunion.  He was on the decline with Alzheimer's and was in an assisted living facility.  He received an afternoon pass to join the family at a local resort for a meal.    

After some time with family, he remarked to my cousin, "I don't know where I am...but this is better."  His brain may have been muddled, but his heart knew he was surrounded by people who loved him.  


I am sad today for my mom and my aunt and my cousins.  Bud was such a gentle, loving force in our family.  He will be tremendously missed.  But, we all know that he is finally free from the agitation and fog of Alzheimer's.  And there really is some comfort in that.

After talking with my cousin this morning, I learned more about Bud's passing.  He was on a plane with his son, traveling home to Illinois after an extended stay in California.  He died quietly in his seat, holding the hand of his son.

My cousin remarked that she can hear her dad thinking, in his engineer way, "I'm already thirty thousand feet high.  Might as well just go on up." 

I can hear that, too.  Bud was a practical guy.  The surly bonds of earth were already loosening their hold, and I believe the view he was beginning to see drew him home.

I can imagine his initial greeting to St. Peter: "I don't know where I am....but this is better."

22 comments:

Jaime said...

This is beautifully written. Thank you for being so open. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

S. said...

sweetness, mama. sweetness.

Tracy said...

Mare,
I'm so sorry to hear of your uncle; may your family be blessed through the procedures necessary in time of death but may your memories carry you on...I love your blog! ...very positive and uplifting!

Jenny said...

Your uncle sounds like a wonderful man. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Wanda said...

How appropriate to use your "M" to share with us your love for Uncle Bud. Just two weeks ago today, we lost our dear Aunt Trula (89) to a stroke. We are in the mourning mode too.

Thanks for stopping by my blog...I enjoyed yours and will be stopping back for movre visits.

M said...

I am sorry for your "M" post. It sounds like you had a wonderful uncle who left you with lots of memories. My sister died when she was 29 and I was 17. I never really knew her. Your mom was lucky to have a brother for so long. The pain of loss is worth the memories.

Phil said...

I think Bud had a clear mind when he met St. Peter, Jesus, and his mom and dad. While it is sad for us, we can be happy for him. And some day we will see him again in a more glorious state.

mare ball said...

Thanks, Jaime. You write beautifully as well. People have been so kind to send me blessings. Bud's family is doing well. They are close and positive and people of faith, so that helps.

mare ball said...

thank you Tracy. It's strange that death makes life more significant, doesn't it? I enjoy your blog too...very thoughtful. I applaud your work w/ special ed kids. My sister works w/ spec. ed. kids as well. It is a calling.

mare ball said...

Thank you Jenny. I appreciate you stopping by.

mare ball said...

Wanda, (love that name) thank you for stopping by. I'm sorry for your loss as well. Trula is another great name. :-) Mourning is a part of life, as we know. It was helpful to write my thoughts down...and just reflect.

mare ball said...

oh my, to lose a sibling at 17...I'm sure that made an impact on your life. We just never know when we're going, do we? As a cancer survivor (I'm assuming), I'm sure you have great appreciation for life. Thank you for popping in.

SweetMarie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. 90 years is wonderful! So great that your uncle was able to attend the family reunion. :)

michelle said...

I'm visiting from the A to Z Challenge.
My deepest sympathy on the loss of your loved one.
I loved this heartfelt piece... really poignant - thanks for sharing it with us.
He sounds like somebody special... at least he has gone to a better place.

mare ball said...

Sweet Marie and michelle - thanks for the condolences. The family is doing fine. Thank you both for popping in! The a-z challenge is linking so many nice bloggers!

Robyn Campbell said...

Oh my! I am so very, very sorry. My deepest sympathies. Your uncle sounds like he was a beautiful person. It is hard for the family left behind. But he is in a wonderful place. I love how you wrote of his passing. Simply beautiful. Praying for your family. Thank you for the A to Z visit.

jen@ living a full life said...

I do hope you as well as your family find comfort in the many memories of Uncle Bud's long life and the love you all shared.
May the angels in heaven greet your uncle with open arms and may his soul rest in peace.

mare ball said...

Beautiful, Jen. Thank you.

mare ball said...

Thanks for the prayers, Robyn. I'm so touched by all the kind words of people I don't know....fellow bloggers. It's a wonderful thing! Thanks for popping in.

ejwforeman said...

Your family will be in my prayers. I am sorry you are dealing with a loss in the family. It's never easy and time makes everything better. What a beautiful written piece about your uncle. I am sure he would smile if he knew you thought all those wonderful things about him.

michele659 said...

I'm very sorry about the loss of your Uncle.He sounds like a wonderful man with a strong spirit.I'm happy that you were able to see him at your family reunion. I'm also happy that he was able to be with all of you at the reunion, and had an extended visit with his family before he passed away. I believe that people with dementia and Alzheimer's know more than we think,and I feel he knew the love that surrounded him.
My thoughts are with you and your family at this time.
Michele

Michael Ann said...

I agree, beautifully written and a lovely tribute to your uncle. He sounds like a wonderful man, I know you will miss him. Love what he said about not knowing where he is but "this is better." Wow.