Today has been a very sad day. This morning my cousin called to let me know that his father, my uncle Bruce had died. It was very sudden, he had several small heart attacks in the early hours of the morning. Even though he had made it to the hospital, unfortunately he didn’t make it through them. It was very sudden, and we’re all in shock.
It was brought sharply into focus this morning, again, how fragile this life can be and that there really is a lot in those clichés that people spout about “living every moment like it’s your last” and that you should tell the people you love that you love them when ever you have the chance.
Last weekend our whole family gathered at my cousins for Easter Dinner, there were 4 generations of us there, the oldest being my Uncle and the youngest being his 9 month old great-grandson. We talked, laughed and enjoyed each others company. It’s hard to believe that it was only a week ago. Last august we lost my Aunt, his wife to cancer, we all had time to tell her how much we loved her and to say our good byes, unlike my Uncle. I’m glad that I had a chance to spend time with him, and to make sure I got a kiss before he left that day.
I have a lot of great memories of my Uncle, he was a wonderful story-teller and could keep us all entertained with the unusual facts that he knew. Recently, my husband and I had persuaded him to come out to the cottage when we were renovating, we had to get our plumbing done and couldn’t find a plumber anywhere on the island. My Aunt and Uncle had owned a fishing camp on the French River when I was younger and he and my cousin had to do all the work, electrics, plumbing and repairs to the cabins themselves. Out he came to PEI to be our plumber, we spent a great 4 days with him, and my husband learned all about plumbing during this time.
There are so many other stories, like the time that he rescued me from the pool when I was a baby. I was watching my cousins, who are older, dive into the deep end and decided that I wanted to be with them, so I stepped off the edge of the pool and sank to the bottom. My Uncle was the one who dove in to get me remarking that “this wasn’t the way he had intended to get wet”.
Recently, my husband and I took him to the King Tut exhibit at the AGO , after we saw the exhibit we walked around the art gallery and looked at the masters, he was so excited about the detail in some of the pieces, acting like a little kid. We explored the new wing and all of us wondered at how beautiful the wood and the “tree” exhibit was. However, the best part was that we went for Dim Sum in Chinatown, a true experience for my Uncle.
Over the past few years I’ve noticed how much my Uncle and my Mother had begun to look-alike – they were always similar but I noticed how they had developed the same mannerisms and maybe because my Mom had died 3 years ago I really began to notice this in my Uncle. At times it annoyed me, but most of the time it proved to me that how you are taught as a child stays with you and it doesn’t matter how far removed from your family you may be the basics are always there connecting you to each other, there is a strange comfort to this connection.
When my cousin called this morning the last thing I expected him to say to me was “my father died”. Over the past 20 years my Uncle has been my main older male relative, my father having passed in ’89, he was the closest thing to a Father in law /Grandfather to my husband and we will miss his laughter, his stories, his sparkling blue eyes and his wisdom very much.
Good Bye Uncle Bruce, I love you,