Lindsay from Ohio shares these thoughts after speaking at her uncle’s funeral:
“Beth worked with me to write something special and moving about Uncle Joe. He was such a wonderful man, and I’m glad that I’ll always have this eulogy to remember all the happy times we had together. I hope to be able to use Celebration Writing in the future for a happy occasion.”
Even when I was two years old, I knew how special my Uncle Joe was. Having home videos helps me prove this fact time and time again. I owned a T-shirt that said, “I’m a little Tiger,” in reference to the Detroit Tigers baseball team. When my mom interviewed me on a home video to ask me who bought it for me, she said, “It’s from your grandma’s brother. Can you tell me who?” After naming numerous uncles who had not bought me the shirt, she said, “Well, who then?” And I responded quietly with, “Uncle Joe”. She then said, “Do you love Uncle Joe?” And I said yes, just like I still say to this day. I love my Uncle Joe so, so much, and I always will.
He has always been good to me. He loved telling me jokes. It didn’t matter that they didn’t always make sense, or that they may have been missing punchlines. What mattered was that my Uncle Joe loved to tell these jokes. And he loved that I enjoyed listening to him tell them. He would go out of his way to write some down just so that he would be sure to have enough to tell me when he saw me.
He loved family picnics, and I can vividly remember he and my Uncle Sid playing baseball with all the kids. He enjoyed these times, and I thank him for those memories.
One of the most special memories I have of my Uncle Joe is when he came to my wedding. I wanted to be sure he made it, as he meant so very much to me, and having him there was extremely important, in my mind, to make my wedding complete. Despite being a bit farther removed, as a great-niece, I have always felt very close to my great-aunts and uncles. Those family picnics solidified our family’s tight bond. The picture I have of the two of us dancing at my wedding will remain one of my most treasured possessions.
I would make a point to call Uncle Joe every so often. He didn’t often answer, as he was out for a walk much of the time, so I sometimes resorted to writing an old-fashioned letter. I know he liked this, as he would write back to me and tell me what was going on in Stratford that might be of interest to me. And he would write that he loved me, which always made my day brighter.
There was at least one time when Uncle Joe came to stay with us in Ohio while I was in middle or high school. I have always been into movies, and he was happy to watch them with me while visiting. I showed him “What About Bob” with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss, and he couldn’t get enough of it. Another one I remember him enjoying very much is “Tin Men,” also with Richard Dreyfuss, but with Danny Devito as a co-star. He enjoyed these movies so much, and the funniest part of it was that every time my grandma and I went into Canada and picked him up along the way before going to stay with my Aunt Louise, “What About Bob” seemed to be on, and he would always say how funny Bob was. It always made me happy to see him enjoying something so much, especially something I was able to enjoy with him as well.
At my Aunt Diane’s funeral last year, my mom, grandma, John, and I came in just for the day. He didn’t know we wouldn’t be there for dinner, as we had to leave to get back for work the next day, and he asked a couple times if we were going to dinner. He wanted to take us out. He wanted to spend more time with us, those he loved, as he knew that we loved him and wanted to be with him too.
When his knees started to weaken, he stopped walking quite so much around Stratford, and in the past year or so, he often mentioned to me on the phone or when I saw him about how much he wanted to have surgery like my grandma had had on her knees, so that he could walk around again. He wanted to be active, and his knees were keeping him from being so. I can only wonder what might have been if he was still able to walk around and be the active individual he had once been.
I know he is in a better place, and that he is with all our loved ones. They are together as I am sure we will one day be. I can only hope that he knew how much I love him. It’s hard to know, of course, what someone else is thinking, but my love for him was strong, and it always will be. Just as I have said goodbye to so many others whom I miss more than words can say, I say farewell to one more. I loved and lost, but I will continue to love, because words cannot express how much he meant to me.