A funeral

My uncle died on Saturday

He was 59.

Like his brother, my dad, his shortened life was another product of Cancer. He lived many of the past years with a portable oxygen set-up — alert, participating in the lives of his wife, children and grandchildren.

I sense he was a kind man, but that knowledge is limited to interaction at family gatherings. I don’t go back as often as I should, holidays usually, where we meet up at my aunt’s house and eat, marvel at the youngest and laugh.

We gathered back at the church of my youth for some fellowship time, the scene was familiar as was the spread. Disposable trays instead of Tupperware featuring several versions of baked beans and deviled eggs, sandwiches and casseroles. A wall of desserts.

After catch-up conversations, my remaining uncles mused on life expectancy. There were no bets placed but eyes tend to look less dark when there’s a smile.

There’s a picture in my mind from the day. As we gathered around the tent at the graveyard, I stood off to one side which lent a straight view of Mike’s wife and her three daughters. All in black, staring at the coffin, shivering from the cold, eyes reddened. Guns fired and taps began to play as veterans folded up a flag and presented it to his wife.

The loss seemed permanent upon this transaction.

Too soon. In general, and from the last time.