Quarantine Saturday, May 9, 2020

My Uncle Jim. A funny, amazing, self-made man I deeply admired and loved.

I had planned on talking about us doing Mother’s Day today, but instead, I found out some bad news that kinda got to me.

In Canada, we lost 2 million jobs. Less than feared but still a staggering number, moving the unemployment rate to 13%.

In Langley, our the Army and Navy store will be closing forever, (as will all of them across Canada) after 101 years of operation. I fear more businesses will follow.

But the bad news that got to me was the death of my Uncle Jim.

I don’t know if anyone remembers, but I was making a book for him about our trip to Disney World last year. I had finished it in early March, but it took a while to arrive. Why so long? I’m not sure, could be problems shipping cross border or less staff at the publisher, but it didn’t arrive until Wednesday.

Sadly, I didn’t deliver it until today.

I drove out to his retirement home, hoping to drop it off. I think I did a great job making a book of our adventures in Disney World, Universal Studios, and the Kennedy Space Center. I reworked some of my blogs, edited pictures, and obsessed over fonts, page colours, and spacing. But it was done, and I hoped he’d love it because, without him, none of those adventures would have been possible.

At the home, I knew I couldn’t actually see him, due to the restrictions nowadays, but they told me to drop off the book just inside a small entrance room. I did that, disinfected the book, and placed it on the table the home had set up, along with a note for Uncle Jim.

Then I left, but as I got in the car, a staff member came running out. She told me that he’d been taken to hospital, that I shouldn’t leave the book here. In hindsight, she said a lot more with her look and her body language, but I wasn’t seeing what needed to be seen. When I asked what had happened, she couldn’t say, and when I asked what hospital he was in, she said I should speak to the family.

It was all there. I just didn’t see it.

I emailed my cousin, asking if his dad was ok?

He wasn’t. He’d passed away. He was 92. I don’t know if it was due to Covid19, but in the end, does it really matter? He’s gone. He never got a chance to see the book. I never got a chance to thank him, one more time, for all his generosity.

Fuck! Fucking hell, fuck!

First, I lost my Auntie Ruth, my mom’s only sister, in December of 2019, and now I lost my Uncle Jim, my dad’s only brother. That generation of my family is now all gone. All their memories, all their history, all their stories, gone. Forever.

I won’t lie. It wrecked me, today – On what was our Mother’s Day. On what was The-Oldest’s day for a scholarship interview and a recital (virtually) of his composition for the Langley Community Music School.

What should have been a great day… became full of heartbreak.

I did my best to make Mother’s Day work, (more on that tomorrow), to be supportive and enthusiastic for The-Oldest, and to offer my heartfelt condolences to my cousins who’d just lost their dad, but it was hard to keep it all together.

Today, I lost a man who could tell a funny anecdote that would make you laugh so hard, you cried, and begged him to stop. I lost an uncle who helped my mom out after we’d lost our dad, back when I was 16. I lost a friend who shared a love of travel and story-telling, and who had perhaps the greatest head of hair I’ve ever seen.

I am sad because I no longer have him in my life, and I mourn the loss of all the stories he never got to tell me. He lived a great and full life, but gosh, I wished it could have been a little longer.

Rest in Peace, Uncle Jim. You can be with your wife now, and be happy.

Until tomorrow, say safe, stay healthy, and respect the new world. (Oh, and give someone you love a hug for me, or listen to one of their stories… you just never know.)

My auntie Ruth, my mom, my dad, and Uncle Jim.

About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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4 Responses to Quarantine Saturday, May 9, 2020

  1. Vonnie says:

    Beautiful words about your Uncle Jim. May he be resting peacefully now. ❤️

  2. Al says:

    Memory Eternal! Losing one of your important ones from that generation is never good. Talk. about him to anybody who’ll listen (I’ll listen!) and re-tell his stories often. Don’t forget to take care of yourself while taking care of all the other important people in your life.

  3. Michael Cummings says:

    Great entry, Joe, and good for you for getting yourself to post it. His generosity to his brother’s sons was exceptional. I wish I had seen more of him since I left the coast.

  4. Karalee Greer says:

    Thanks for sharing Joe.

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