How do you say goodbye to someone who’s already gone? How do you mourn? How do you feel? What are you supposed to feel?
My Uncle loved life. He loved music. He made music. He wasn’t as talented as some, but he worked hard. He wasn’t expecting to be the next Bob Seger, which is the best thing any rock musician from Ann Arbor could be. He just wanted to have fun, meet girls and hang out.
He wasn’t the stern disciplinarian. He wasn’t the lead by example. He was the have fun uncle. He’s the one that wanted to go to baseball games and let me taste a beer and let me ride in fast cars and stay up late watching violent movies. He was fun! He was cool! I didn’t know anyone else like him. Other people were serious or troubled or some combination of the two. He was those things too, but I didn’t know it. I wouldn’t be who I am today without him in my life.
My uncle died today. He died in an assisted living facility in Indiana. He had Alzheimer’s disease. He was 59. I always hate when people say someone is too young to die. But he was. To die of that god-forsaken disease he was too young.
Because of that disease, to me, he was already gone. I mourned him more than a year ago when my mother said he no longer remembered her and that he weighed half of what he used to. She showed me a picture. I gasped out loud. I didn’t know that person. I mourned then.
It’s hard to know how to feel. I’m sad, of course, but I was sad before. I don’t have that, “He’s in a better place now,” mindset. Even if it’s true it’s too ethereal for me to consider. I don’t have that in me. There’s no part of me that finds peace or relief.
I think, more than anything, I’m disappointed. There was always that hope. There was always some little spark that made me think he could rebound. I know this disease is a monster and that people don’t come back. He might. There’s always one, right?