I received the news on Thursday that my uncle had passed away. He was “somewhere” in his late 80s and succumbed to some disease for which there was no cure. He and I were never close so I’m not shedding any tears, nor am I sending any flowers for the funeral. That may seem crass of me, but his own wife, my blood relative aunt, has not seen the need to call me any time during his illness the last three months and update me on his situation.
There are only bad memories when I think of the times I visited my aunt along with my Mom; she was warm, friendly and outgoing while “uncle” stood in the background and mumbled about having people in the house. Years earlier when they were traveling and would stop at my grandmother’s house for a visit and a lot of the relatives were present, “uncle” would always chamois down his car before coming into the house to say hello. And then it was only a fleeting hello before he would settle in some corner and let everyone else talk. Thinking back on it, he must have felt like a loose cog in the greater mechanism of family.
I guess the biggest thing that hurt me in this lifelong relationship was the days Mom and I visited them in Ohio and my aunt was fixing dinner. I was asked to set the table and put out four place settings only to be followed by “uncle” who removed one place setting and put the plate and silverware back in their places in the kitchen. When my aunt saw the table, she said, “Why did you put the setting back? There are four of us, not three.” He mumbled again and made no move to put the plate and silver back on the table. I did at my aunt’s request. The meal itself was very uncomfortable for all four of us. I took all his actions as a direct insult and later learned he just plain did not like me because of my lifestyle. Returning my plate to the cabinet was his way of showing defiance and hatred.
So, no flowers, no telephone call to my aunt expressing my grief to her. My cousin feels the same way so there will be no flowers representing our sides of the family. There’ll be enough flowers at his funeral because he was way up the ladder in the Lions Club. So, Rest In Peace, “uncle,” if you can. No love lost.