Up until recently I’ve been fortunate not to have any of my friends and relatives die. Sadly, this has not been the case recently. My Aunt Linda died last spring and in the past two weeks I’ve lost both my Aunt Beverly and my Uncle Bill.
Aunt Beverly was married to my dad’s oldest brother, Jimmy. She was a longtime Spanish teacher in Birmingham and raised two of her three kids on her own after Jimmy died in the 80s. I didn’t know her too well.
While I was making plans to attend her funeral I found out Uncle Bill was in serious condition. Bill died last week. I was unable to attend Beverly’s funeral but was able to get away for Bill’s, also in Birmingham.
It’s an 8+ hour drive to Birmingham from Raleigh, so my brothers and I carpooled there. We spent the next few days eating barbecue, catching up, and attending services. Then it was a long trip back.
Uncle Bill was just a fun guy. He always had a funny story to tell, the result of a keen sense of observation. He worked as a service manager at a car dealership for most of his career but filled his retirement with golf and trips. He was also the only other member of my family to be a veteran of the Navy. Like me, Uncle Bill only spent four years in the Navy but those four years transformed his life. He was fiercely proud of his service and his Navy. I hope my service was up to his standards!
The occasion did give me the opportunity to spend time with my family in a way that has become increasingly rare. I just hope the next occasion is a more positive one.