Someone’s Uncle

I guess it was unavoidable that my thoughts would revolve around funerals and death and loss today.  But I’m one of the lucky ones who got to go to the funeral, pay my respects and then come home and not think about it anymore (apparently).  I’m not one of the ones who sat in the first rows, torn apart by grief.  I’m not one of the ones who has to begin 2017 by trying to get over the loss of a husband, a brother, a son.  An uncle.

I think I did badly when I spoke with Jim’s nephew.  I wasn’t expecting it; I didn’t have the words that could possibly express how sorry I am for what he and his family are going through.  Or how much fun and life his uncle brought to the school, and to me as he teased me for my apparent homelessness and school addiction.

It was tough today.

It was very tough to watch.  And it’s unfortunate that I’m getting used to seeing all the same faces at funerals lately.  Faces that bring back a lot of truly difficult times, and somehow overshadow the good times which were far greater in number. 

Religion and I have mostly been estranged during my life, but there was one thing that the priest said today which struck a chord with me: “And now we stand together as family.”

In that church today, a few hundred strangers were united in grief.  Whether it was for the loss of Jim himself, the loss of someone who was called to memory or even just grief on behalf of the brokenhearted family, for a short time we were all united as one.  If that’s what religion is all about maybe someday it will play a part in my life, or at least a bigger part than it currently plays.

I’m always surprised by the rare moments when I find myself drawn to prayer.  I don’t know who it is that I’m talking to in those moments, but whoever it is, I hope that they look after Jim and his family.


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