Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Uncle David Moves On

My uncle David died yesterday afternoon, a few hours after I returned to Portland. I spent the better part of two days with him, as well as with my aunt Connie, their daughters, and my Mom. The night before I returned to Portland, I also finally had the opportunity to speak with David, alone, knowing we wouldn't be disturbed, all other visitors having left for the day. I told him the truths that I both needed to tell him and which I, when I am dying, will want to hear. I believe it was a relief to both of us. I think I knew things about my uncle David's most private self that no one else did only because they resonate in the most private chambers of my own self (isn't that why we love others? That we recognize our secrets in them and visa versa?) Those things I knew about him have given me, over the years, something like courage. They were responsible for those aspects of myself that I like most, or, rather, dislike least. They also made it possible for me to learn how to be slower than I would have been otherwise to condemn others for their faults, a lesson I am still learning, of course.

Uncle David's last words to me were, "I'll see you soon."

Mine, to him, were "Good night, Uncle David."

A quotidian and ritual exchange with a lot of weight--most of the iceberg out of view, at least in this report.


David Loftus said...

I don't mean my playful comments to your earlier posts to be disrespectful in any way, David. I envy your chance to say goodbye to your uncle. Would that all departures could be so clear and lucid. When my father was struck down by a drunk driver, I said some things to his body in the hospital, and played the violin for him, but I had no way of knowing whether he heard me, and of course he could tell me nothing.

suzy said...

Tremendous. Lovely. Heartbreaking.

Cindy said...

"...isn't that why we love others? That we recognize our secrets in them and visa versa?"

Often, oh yes. Thank you for saying it and showing it so well here.

My condolences, although I will admit to feeling joy, also in regards to your having had someone like him, someone so like yourself, in your life.