Back in June I told you about A Death in the Family, where I found out my aunt had died almost two months after the fact.
Last night I learned that her husband, my mother’s brother, passed away on August 1.
As you can tell, we really aren’t that close to that side of the family. I hadn’t personally spoken to him since my father’s memorial service twenty years ago.
As it was when my aunt passed, my feelings are more “oh” than “oh dear,” and it feels like I’m hearing about someone else’s family.
Neither of them ever seemed to approve of me. I always got the impression that I was a disappointment to them, long before I came of an age where I could really disappoint them. I feel a sense of loss, but it’s not sharp; it’s more of the ache of “what might have been.”
Maybe they were embarrassed about how far they’d fallen. Back in the 1970s and 1980s my uncle owned a chain of one-hour photo stores in the Atlanta area, and did a very brisk business. Then cameras became digital and photos were printed at home and my uncle didn’t keep up with the technology and lost his shirt. They were very prideful – well, my aunt was – of their elegant home in their affluent neighborhood, and it must have killed them to have to go to her brother and essentially beg for a place to stay, especially that late in life. I can’t really know what they went through – for 20 years, I never heard a word.
I had always missed not having a better relationship with them.
And now I miss them because now I never will.