Sunday, August 23, 2009

R.I.P. Tio

I don't know if it's just me but when it comes to death, I don't often feel sad for the person who died. I think I take my grandfather's outlook on death; it's a part of life.

Early this morning (about 2 am) I found out that my uncle passed away. I still don't know the circumstances of how, although I did find out when-which pissed me off to no end. This was my uncle Berto who we called Turin (still no idea why this was). But yes, as best as I can figure the man was in his late 80's possibly early 90's, so I really can't feel bad for him. He had a very long life and has a beautiful family and even became a great grandfather. He was my Dad's eldest sister's husband (my Dad is the baby in the family, I believe there's a 20-year-ish difference between him and my aunt Judy). But to me, my uncle was just this strong-ass guy who ran a printing shop and could run circles around you. I mean the man was fast as hell. He used to be a runner in college in P.R. and he never really stopped running. When I was younger he used to give me running tips (most of which I still use today) and used to school me on the track. The last time I raced him I was in high school and captain of the varsity track team and he still dusted my ass!

But what I think I remember the most about him was during the year I was in Kindergarten. We were still living in P.R. and his shop was right across the street from the school. Every day I would get out of school and go to his little shop. He had the old-school printing press machines, the turn of the century iron printing machines but still worked and moves like pieces of art. I still remember the sounds they make thump, thump, swish... The sound was kind of hypnotic. Anyway, I would go there every day after school to wait for my Dad to pick me up. Every now and then he would give me money to get an ice-pop from the shop next door. I was five years old but I still remember the sounds, the smells and him standing there in his inky apron, pointing out how each of the machines worked. It seemed kind of like such a irrelevant memory but now that he's gone, I'm quickly realizing that it's one of the things I can recall from living on the Island with crystal clarity. I'm extremely grateful for that, and my other memories of him.

The reason I was, and still am pissed off is that although I found out he died just a few hours ago, he actually passed away on Friday. I have no idea why it took so long for the news to reach us about it, but there's not much that can be done now. Apparently my Mom was trying to reach me yesterday afternoon but I was at the Ren Faire and had no cell reception to speak of. I didn't start getting the voice mails till I was on the way home. Adding to this is the fact that his funeral was today at 10 am. I tried getting a flight out but there was no way I could get one that would get me back to our town in time. Not to mention, the flights were incredibly expensive. The cheapest flight was about $750. What kills me is, had I known sooner I would have been able to reach out to the airlines or do something to make it out in time. Again, I'm not sure why I didn't get word sooner, but I kind of don't care at this point. Like my two grandfathers, grandmother and my aunt, I prefer to remember them when they were alive and not in a box. They are now in the next part of life so although I will miss them all, there's no real reason to grieve.

The person I am concerned about, however, is my aunt. She is such a delicate and gentle person but I fear that without my uncle, she will be lost. She had been with him since they were teenagers! She's very old fashioned and pretty much relied on him for just about everything. God, I hope she can muster the strength to reach out to the family for support. If she's anything like my grandmother, I fear she will just internalize everything and pretty much shut down. I pray I'm wrong.

So yes, this is the first time since I heard the news a few hours ago that I've shed anything resembling tears. Like I said, I'll miss him a lot, but I'm glad and thankful to have the memories. I don't need to see his body to say farewell.


Chele76 said...

I'm so sorry to hear about loosing your uncle. That really is a shame that the news did not arrive sooner.

BIG hugs for you :/

Cathy said...

Bren, I am very sorry to hear about your uncle. The lag time in notifying your family is rough. I hope you dad is doing ok.

The memories that you have of your uncle are things to cherish.

lots of (hugs) for you

Hit 40 said...

Your aunt would be happy to see you when ever you get a chance to fly/ drive up. A nice hand written note will suffice for now to let her know that you are thinking about her. This will mean the world to her.

I am sorry for your loss.

E. Van Lowe said...

Sorry for your loss. You wrote a beautiful post. Cherish the memories. I have discovered that as we get older they mean so much more.

Dizzy Vizzy said...

HUGS!! So sorry for your loss! And thank you for sharing the memory!!

BeeOhVee said...

Thank you for the notes everyone. I decided to send my aunt a card with a letter inside. It's been a while since I wrote something that long in Spanish, but I definitely agree that she trully would appreciate that.