Memories

I’ll Miss You Uncle Clifford

Yesterday, one of my most treasured members of my church family was laid to rest.  When I learned of his death on an afternoon in December, I was devastated, mainly because I missed out on the opportunity to visit him when he was sick.  The fault was no one’s but mine.  I should have made the time to visit him and speak to him when I had the chance, but now I won’t have that chance again – not until Jesus returns that is.

Uncle Clifford was a very special individual.  He was one of the people I would always make an effort to seek out and say hello when I came to church on Sabbath.  If he didn’t see me, I know that he would ask my mum, “How are my daughters?” inquiring about both me and my sister.  He was someone who would always remember you and genuinely cared about how you were.

Seeing Uncle Clifford never failed to put a smile on my face.  I always looked forward to seeing him, greeted by his grin, warming presence and always a “Hello darling” in his distinct Jamaican tongue.  There was also always a hug and kiss on the cheek waiting for me.  Knowing that I’m not going to hear that treasured greeting again or see his smiling face on Sabbath brings great sadness to my heart, as I know that church will never feel the same again.  Having to see someone else sitting in his spot next to Uncle Jim will be a strange sight for me.

I also enjoyed seeing Uncle Clifford sitting with Uncle Jim at the church’s soup kitchen on Tuesday evenings.  Having the opportunity to see him there in the week made coming to the soup kitchen even better, as I was treated to his trademark greeting and some conversation.

His strength continued through and through, not complaining about any pain or illness he was in, which is a quality I truly admire.  He was always caring and considerate, offering me and my mum lifts home on a number of occasions.  Uncle Clifford would always want to ensure you were safe, well and happy, doing what he could to make it happen.

The moment I heard of his passing, I knew that I was going to miss him, but at his funeral yesterday, it hit me just how much I was going to miss his presence in my life.  Uncle Clifford was a simple, constant figure who brought joy to my days, but I don’t think he realised the impact he had on my life by just being who he was.  I’m glad he’s at peace now and I’m looking forward to seeing him again on that day when Jesus comes.  I love you always Uncle Clifford.

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A Letter to My Aunty Joce

Aunty Joce,

I’m sitting here thinking that I cannot believe it’s been a whole year since you passed.  It’s been a whole year since I felt the shock of those six words, uttered from my mum’s mouth.  It’s been a whole year since you were cruelly taken away from us, without warning.  It’s been a whole year without you and it sucks.

The time has flown by and I guess that doesn’t make dealing with the pain any better.  It feels like you should still be here among us, making me laugh with your dry humour and many brilliant stories.  You should still be in the kitchen, whipping up food like it’s a sport.  You should still be out shopping for your bargains, leaving your reading glasses here and there, watching Judge Judy on TV.

You should also still be here to bring light to our family.  Seriously Aunty Joce, family gatherings and special occasions have not felt the same without you.  It’s like there is a big, gaping hole that will never, ever be filled.  I remember thinking how much you would have loved Uncle Selo and Aunty Doriel’s masquerade party.  There were numerous times when I thought about how you would have had me overflowing with laughter at grandma’s last birthday celebration – there were some wise cracks that only would have come from your mouth and I genuinely missed that.

Twelve months have passed, but that hasn’t stopped the pain I feel and I don’t think that pain will ever fully go away.  That pain feels especially raw now, as I mourn an uncle who was snatched away suddenly – not only am I reminded of the cruel way we lost you, but I don’t have your kind and supportive words to comfort me at this time.  I know that you would have sent me a message, because you were so wonderful like that.

August felt really raw as well, because you know, that’s our birthday month.  I didn’t get a lovely message from you and I wasn’t able to send a message to you either, which felt horrible.  I hate that a month that was so full of birthdays is now emptier without you in it.  However, knowing that we shared that bond will always make it extra special.

I still miss you so much Aunty Joce, but the many memories of you still remain and I hope they will never fade.  They bring a smile to my face as I remember you at your best, rather than the tears that spring to my eyes when I recall that you’ve passed.  I just live in hope that I’ll see you again on that great day when my Jesus returns.

I love you with all my heart, always and forever.

Shan x

I’ll Miss You Uncle Dale

I never imagined I’d be faced with death again so soon; like, this life is mad.  Actually mad.  How can you see someone one night and then the next day they’ve dropped dead – with no warning at all?

When I learned that my Uncle Dale had died yesterday, shock hit me like a slap in the face and I didn’t know how to feel.  Why was this happening to me again?  Why was I being faced with another shock death in just under a year?  Why, why, why?  I mean, I could not understand it, as I’d just seen him last night at another one of my uncles’ houses.

My Uncle Dale was full of laughter, jokes and conversation, with eyes that twinkled like my beloved grandad, whose own death last year continues to feel surreal to me.  Like my grandad, he also told the famous “Burton jokes” and had a kind heart.

Each year, he was one of my uncles who regularly remembered my birthday and gave me a card, or just some money, because he wanted to give me something.  Unfortunately, I think I took that for granted, but I appreciate it so much now that he’s gone.

My uncle also had a special place in my life because he was my mum’s “twin”.  Although there were three years between them, they happened to be born on the same day.  Imagine, ten children and two of them just happen to be born on the same day – how weird and amazing is that?  I’m so grateful for the time we were able to spend with him at our house this year when he and my mum celebrated their birthdays together, which was something we had done for the first time.  That is going to be a memory I’ll now cherish forever.

I’ll miss my Uncle Dale greeting me with, “Hello Shani” and a kiss on the cheek, asking how I am and engaging in conversation at times.  I’ll miss his generosity and I’ll miss his presence at family gatherings – he truly was unique.

Although I don’t understand and struggle to comprehend why he was taken so suddenly and so soon, God knows what He’s doing and I’ve just got to trust in that.  Now my Uncle Dale is soundly asleep, resting away from this cruel world, but I hope to see him on that great day when my Jesus comes again and I can embrace him and my grandad together.

I don’t think I told you this Uncle Dale when you were alive, but I love you and always will.  May you rest in peace.