These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Monday, October 17, 2005

my uncle is at rest

linda was once again the messenger of bad news. she called sunday night shortly after 11 to tell me my uncle gocha died. ihad hung up with mom shortly after 10 and she said he was doing very poorly, something about not living more than an hour (earlier that day) but he was still alive. he must have died between our phone call and 11. he heart finally gave up.

my uncle rene is taking it bad. he called and couldn't get it out that his brother was dead. he had to call again after he'd composed himself. my dad was very meditative sunday night. i guess he knew it was coming. mom was with him. it was a matter opf time for him. he was on no machine or feeding tube. he didnt' want it.

it feels odd knowing one of my uncles is dead. he is the first uncle (mom or dad's siblings) to die. the last death close to me was my grandma in 1980. the next time we visit texas he won't be there anymore.

i didn't really know my uncle too much. he lived in corpus and i lived at the ranch. we didn't interact too much. but the last five years or so, he and my dad talked quite a lot on the phone, as well as visits on occasion. it was hard the last few years because of his health, though. i am really glad he and my dad talked.

still, there are notable things about my uncle. i remember him with a pipe. he was the only uncle on my dad's side who smoked, at least with a pipe. it was a rare thing, but he had it. i always meant to ask where he picked that up. also he wore a hat common in the 1930s. it the kind of hat you see robert deniro wear every once in a while in movies or tv appearances. only one to wear that type of hat. usually his brothers wore caps or my uncle eli's old, battered hat.

one other thing that sticks in my head is my dad telling me that when he was a teenager, he and my uncle gocha went to a dance in premont together. i'm not sure who was playing and it must have been in the 1950s, probably late 1950s. i doubt if my dad will remember, but i do. it's a brotherly thing they did together. and i guess it's why my uncle's death is hard. losing a sibling is probably tough in a way losing a parent is not.

it's hard to explain and i don't want to sound like an insensitive idiot. the thing with siblings is they ae your peers. you played with them as children, fought with them, laughted with them, went to movies, concerts, parties, got drunk with them, talked about girls/gusys, grew up with them. they've always been there in your life. and to have that void where they once were is probably hard to deal with. something i'd rather not think about right now.


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