Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Remembering Uncle Bob

I remember Uncle Bob, but I don’t.  He was the uncle I saw the least and knew the less.  Maybe that’s why in my child mind, he remains my favorite uncle.  Uncle Bob was like magic – red haired and fair skinned, he was so different from me, the clone of my Dad.  And he was tall.  In my child mind, he was a giant.  He could and did lift me up so my head touched the ceiling.  My Dad never did that.  (I think he was too short – or maybe he didn’t know how to have fun like Uncle Bob.  Or maybe lifting little girls up to the ceiling is the job of uncles.)  So I remember being a giddy girl seeing Uncle Bob coming into the house where Grandma and Grandpa lived.  Did I beg him to lift me up?  I think so.  And he always did.  With a twirl and a whirl the hair on my head gently grazed the ceiling and back down I went.

It was over too quickly, this intimate face-to-face lifting in joy moment of an uncle who would later die a painful and agonizing death in the remove of his bedroom where I never went for he did not want to see or be seen and where somehow that – the dying – became more real than the living.  How does that happen?  How does it happen that a moment, a breath, even months or years of a dying erases decades of a living?  Now I remember Uncle Bob the way I want to – the way he was when I was a little girl – and he is smiling again.  And it is good.

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