My family suffered a pretty big blow a few weeks ago – the loss of my Uncle Bruce. I’m finding that tears randomly drop down my face into a fat puddle mixed with sadness, disbelief and regret when the still unbelievable notion that he is gone passes through the conscious thought.
Death. What a deal. I don’t know what is worse… seeing it coming through the suffering of the one you love or being sucker punched hard and fast in the face. But this isn’t about measurement because the pain of loss is too deep, too wide, too much girth to go around to try and pinhole a better.
I was asked to be a part of the services and share in the eulogy. Finding the words was not hard at all. I have so many words for my Uncle Bruce. So many words of love and gratitude and laughter that I could sink a sorrow ship.
It is true that it’s not what people say but how they make you feel that matters. Whenever I was around my Uncle Bruce he made me feel like the simplest version of myself… like a kid again. My Uncle Bruce escorted me to father/daughter dances after my parents divorced and things were family confusing. He hung shelves in my teeny tiny Chicago apartment in college so I could have a bedset (bedroom / closet). He was my all-time euchre partner and all-time ‘we got this’ even when we were all but got no chance.
Nothing flashy about Uncle Bruce… just steady and consistent. He was all the things that make you feel secure and safe and loved.
As I continue to grieve his loss, the memories of love and laughter rise to the reflection brim.
I’ve also noticed how the heart can withstand great heartache and yet life and love are beyond the heart. It seeps deep in the soul. And the heart may stop beating but their spirit finds you.
There, in a spring breeze when you know he’d for sure be on the golf course, a bad hair day that you know he’d delight in saying was the best you’d looked in a while, the laughter of your child… the same kind of laugh he drew out of me every time I was in his presence.
In death, we remember. We remember not just the person but how the person helped frame our story. We are flooded with all the life in action reels. In times well spent.
I have a Dad that I love but Uncle Bruce definitely won a best supporting role. We often forget how important those roles are. The cast members who are not in the limelight or center stage but who help string together the scenes and lay the ground work for your best self to emerge.
Reflecting on my Uncle Bruce is like remembering who I am. His spirit is resonating in my every day and I’m more aware of that now. I think of him daily and those thoughts remind me of some really great things. He continues to escort me back to a place of security, safety and love. His memory like a hand-made quilt. Every stitch perfect.
Death can strip the physical but the spirit, the feelings, the love… they never die. I’d give anything for an encore performance…one more game of bean bags or euchre. One more time to hear him say “oh we got this.” He didn’t have to tell me he loved me. He showed me in every memory I have of him.
I’m seeing even more clearly his life in his death. And it’s so beautiful. His life, his love was so beautiful.
Love some more y’all… it’s the greatest legacy you can leave behind.
Hugs and LOVE,