Funny how life deals you blows when you are kind of expecting them, but then they are bigger than you thought. Strange way to start a post, I know, but once again, life has interfered with my writing. Just when I thought I was starting to ease myself back into it.
Last Wednesday, my Mum rang me to tell me my Great Uncle Ray had died. That might not seem like much to everyone, great uncles die all the time. Well, Great Uncle Ray was special to Mum, and therefore to me.
Uncle Ray was married to Aunty Mary, who was my Nanna’s sister, and Mum often boarded or stayed with them when she was younger. She was the nearest they got to having children, Aunty Mary could not carry a child passed the three month mark, so after many heart breaking miscarriages, they decided to not have children. So as a result, Aunty Mary and Uncle Ray were the last of their line. Aunty Mary died a couple of years ago, and we visited with Uncle Ray last year on our way home to the Burt Munro Memorial Weekend (or whatever they call it.) We had lots of laughs and plenty of fun with Uncle Ray, who was 92 when he passed away. He was still living at home until 6 months ago when he finally went into care because he could not look after himself any more.
Apparently he excluded a lot of people from his life because of the way Aunty Mary was (she had mental issues… she is not directly related to me…) and so they became reclusive, except to Mum. He had a niece – Noeleen and her husband Ken in Dunedin who did a lot for them, and they were the only other ones really, who were in the loop.
On Saturday, we attended a beautiful, simple service for Uncle Ray, and it really brought home to me how precious family are, even if they are distantly related.
Mum was fortunate enough to meet up with Uncle Ray three weeks ago, he was deteriorating, but blamed it on old age (he didn’t want to get chained to the walker…) and Mum is very thankful that she went when she did. Apparently he was starting to wander and suffer from dementia. In a way, we believe he went with a bang because he would not have liked not being fully there. Uncle Ray was an intelligent person, very intellectual with a dry wit, which was still apparent right up until the end (when the Doctor asked him if he knew where he was he replied “why? Don’t you know where you are?”)
While away, I was twitchy and fidgety and it was because I wanted to write. Uncle Ray was a painter, and when he wasn’t painting, he was rather anxious. I think I can understand that, and I am pleased to have called such a talented painter (who gave up painting when he moved into respite care) my Uncle.
Rest in Peace with your beloved Mary Uncle Ray.