Thinking of my dear, sweet, kind, wonderful uncle, who over the years sent sporadic postcards and notes and Greenpeace calendars to his wayward niece. Actually, you might have met him. On a train or bus, or walking around a major city, he met everyone with a totally open heart. He found every single person he met absolutely fascinating, and would have pulled you into a deep conversation about anything, and he would have listened to you, really listened, in a way that you might have found disconcerting at first, but he would have won you over with his smiling Irish eyes and soft voice. Your day probably felt a bit brighter after you parted ways.
Cancer did one of those sneaky fucking things where it just shows up one day, and the next day it’s all over the place and it’s a game of whack-a-mole that you can’t win. He has gracefully laid down his arms and is peacefully sleeping in a Buddhist hospice, thanking Buddha, readying for his transition.
I don’t have any armor left and am gutted, but I am so glad I was able to spend time with him recently. He was a sort of happy wanderer, traveling around the country every year or so to visit family, and he was on his way to visit my dad right before my dad died. My dad always really liked his ex-brother-in-law, and was so looking forward to his visit that, in those last few days when he was tired and forgetful, he’d ask every five minutes when Patrick was going to arrive. And when we’d tell him that it was just another day or so, he was surprised and thrilled every time, so it made the fatigue-induced memory-loss sort of wonderful. Patrick showed up a few hours too late, and was devastated, and changed his travel plans to stay with us through the funeral. I appreciated that more than I could even say, though I’m glad I did try to say so, and that I was able to tell this dear, wonderful, kind, loving man him how much he meant to me then.
He knew, and he knows now, just how much everybody loves him. We should all be so lucky, right?