Uncle D fell on his face on Monday and that was it.
It was the first piece of news we’d received about him in at least 13 years.
I am told he was proud of me. Even secretly took away one of the photos from my graduation album, when he came to visit Mama many years ago.
But I just never knew him. How sad.
The wake was spartan – no wreaths, no offerings, no friends, no togetherness. It was heartbreaking to hear Godma speak to his frozen, frowning face firmly but lovingly in dialect, lamenting his pitiful life. It was sad to see Auntie E, bent over double, and her family sitting furthest possible from the casket, void deck pillars blocking where possible.
As we walked the casket out, I watched my aunts, uncles, cousins and FM cry. It was a very long walk. Rites at the crematorium took less than 10 minutes. FM & Sweetie went up to the casket for a final time, it went in with his sole photo, and that was it. Gone, just like that.
I am told he was a hardworking brother and filial son. Somewhere along the way, things changed. Pride and unforgiveness also got in the way of reconciliation and contact of any sort. But he was a loving husband till the end.
Uncle D died a pauper in so many senses of the word – empty in pocket, full of illness, shallow in familial warmth, and steeped in irreconciliation.
We have a bit of time here, in earthly shells. Some of us have brilliant moments in our fleeting time; others lead lives that seem ordinary, but are no less precious. Regardless, when the curtain falls, we all have to cross over. Where we go, is also where we’ll be forever. Oh, to make wise choices in this fleeting life, with an understanding much much bigger than our limited earthly shells!
There is really so little time left.