Todayís Shadeisms are going to be on the short side. Last week my uncle passed away and today was his funeral, so unfortunately Iím not really of the mind to talk about much of anything. I liked my uncle a lot. He liked to joke around with everyone, but above all he liked to tell stories about the good old days, and it often seemed like he knew everyone in town and had something to tell about that joke he pulled on them that one time. My dad, his brother, also always had lots of great memories with him. Although he was old for an uncle (he was 72, old enough to be my grandfather; in fact he was older than my actual grandfather on my mother's side) he still went too soon.
He had been in the hospital for a good eight weeks after a major surgery before his body simply gave out. The doctors told us that he was miraculously conscious in the weeks before; by all accounts he shouldíve been sleeping or barely awake, but he was fully up and running. The man was literally eating chocolate when he shouldnít even have been up, and he talked to everyone who visited. Our family has a reputation of being obstinate and foolhardy, and he definitely lived up to our reputation in these times. Unfortunately, no matter how headstrong the mind and how powerful the will to go on, at one point the body simply cannot carry on.
Up until now I had been blessed by the relative absence of death in my immediate family, as my grandmother passed away about 13 years ago and I was still considered too young to attend her funeral, so today was very difficult for me. Up until today it hadnít even really sunken in yet that he was gone. It was like he could get up at any moment. Pretending to be asleep only to jump up to startle you was exactly the kind of joke he liked to pull too, on the little ones just as much as on adults. But it goes without saying that did not happen this time.
After his funeral, I spent the rest of today playing To The Moon in his memory. Iím normally not one to play video games when Iím feeling down, I revel in old British comedy series like Monty Python or Blackadder instead, but I could not think of a more appropriate way to spend the day than with this game. I had never played it before, but the story was fantastic. To the Moon tells an amazing story about a manís life through the good times and bad, and has a wonderful love story to boot. It really was an amazing experience, made all the more striking because it was able to act as a vehicle for me to remember my uncleís life. And in a strange way playing To The Moon today was also very reassuring for me. Above all, it was comforting to know that my uncle had no need of memory-altering machines in the end. He has had a good life full of happy moments, a wonderful albeit obstinate family and lots of friends. And although his passing away came sooner than anyone had hoped and he still had the strength of will to go on, I am sure he had no regrets.
So hereís to you, dear uncle.
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May you always find water and shade