My uncle passed away June 16, 2008.
He was born October 16, 1944.
He was 63 years of age.
He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in late February. In early March he had went through an extensive surgery to remove the cancer and see exactly how devastated his body was with the cancer. It was bad. Really bad. We were told his life would no longer be measured in years but months. Yet, none of us really let that sink in long enough to grasp what it meant. As the month of March ended and he was recovering from this major surgery the prognosis looked a little better, yet, months was still his measure of life.
It's July now, months have passed and for him that measure of months meant four. I won't go into the details of his last days. He worked hard to keep those days private between him and my dad. My dad moved in with him for his final days and I am positive that was as much for my dad as it was my uncle. My uncle did not want any of us to even know he was ill, let alone just how sick he became. However, the details do not matter, just that he died peacefully in his home Monday, June 16 at 3.
My uncle did not want a funeral. In fact, he made my dad promise not to spend any money on a funeral. He wanted as much of his money to go to my cousin as possible and even in death, he did not want anyone to make a big deal over him.
So we had a small, private gathering of close friends and family at my dad's house. And a local car cruise dedicated the night to his memory. (There are pictures on my photo blog of the cruise.) It was nice, really honored how he lived his life.
While cleaning out his house we truly get to see how interrupted his life really was. It is a difficult task going through someones things after they pass. You look at their things and wonder if that particular item was important to them or only important to your memory of them as you look for any kind of connection to salvage. You are flooded with tons of emotions--it's overwhelming, sad, sometimes funny, and usually always regret lingers...that last conversation, last hug, could have, should have, wish I would have...
We will be having an estate auction on the 19th. I wonder what it will feel like to close the door to his house forever. Relief? Great sadness? Both?
It has been months since my uncle's cancer diagnosis. Months since the world has made complete and total sense.