Thursday night, a phone call. You were in the hospital, your son called us. Intestinal perforation, that’s what they called it. How that had happened, was unknown at the time. I planned on visiting you in the hospital to say goodbye, after learning that you were terminal. I never got the chance, as you passed away in the early morning of July 2nd. You had peace with it, those were your last words.
I had just woken up, unaware of your death, as I headed downstairs. Mum sat me down, said she had news. I knew what she meant. You were gone. I never had the chance to say goodbye, to tell you that I loved you. I haven’t seen you since Corona first arrived, and I hate Corona for it, for that took away the chance to see you again earlier in the year. Before you died, you had issues. Memory issues, eat issues, going to the toilet issues and so on. But even though most people thought you’d die last year, you proved them all wrong, celebrated your 86th birthday this March. The cause of your death was a bone you apparently ate, causing a crack in your intestinals. I wish I could’ve prevented you from doing that, then you’d still be here with us.
But here I am, at home, after attending your cremation. I never do well at such gatherings, but I had to go. It was the only way I could still say goodbye to you. We received the card on Monday, no photo of you. How I would’ve loved to see your face, to keep it as a memory. But it was a simple photo, nothing special. Then Wednesday arrived, and it was time to go. I felt heavy the second I walked in, my eyes immediately set onto your coffin. It was closed. I had the chance to say goodbye while it was opened, but I couldn’t.
We sat down, I saw a photo on your coffin. That’s what you looked like before you got sick. You aged so handsomely. The music played, your favourite, B.B. King. Then a goodbye-story, written by your son, read out loud by someone else. I listened to what your life looked like, born in 1935, your job, how you met my grandma’s sister and married her after she was pregnant with your son. She died too early, in 1995. But you never abandoned her, you never wanted any other woman as your wife, never looked for new love. She was the only true love, and you stayed with that statement. What an admiration I had for you in those regards. There aren’t many men who’re so devoted to their wives like you were.
You were born in your house, and lived there until your death. You died in the hospital, but kept living on your own until now. That house will miss you just as much as we will. When I walked up to the coffin to say goodbye, I said: ‘goodbye uncle, I loved you.’ Technically you’re my great-uncle, but I always called you uncle. I went back to my seat, and they wheeled your coffin away, to be burned. The realisation hit me as I staggered back, crying, trembling. It was real, all of this was. I then saw a small booklet, people writing stuff in it. That was my chance, for the words I wanted to speak out loud.
”Dear uncle, I wanted to say goodbye, but I didn’t get the chance to do so. I wanted to tell you that I loved you, and that I’m gonna miss you. I remember the way you answered your phone every time I called you. I’m gonna miss hearing your voice. And I’ll keep your wife’s necklace safe, I’ll cherish it forever, for it’s all I have left of her, and you. I admired you loving her the way you did, and I hope you’re reunited with her. That’s my biggest wish for you, for your souls to be reconnected. Party for me up there, will you? Lots of love, Deem.”
And that was it. Nothing left of your body but ashes. All that’s left is some of your stuff, the necklace, and the memories. And I’ll hold onto those memories, and that necklace. I promise. As long as you promise me to find your wife, and tell her that I would’ve loved to meet her. Until we meet again.
Love, Deem/Skye Lewis ❤