Miss You

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.

A Letter to My Grandad

Grandad,

I can’t believe it’s been a year since you passed, time flies by so fast, yet it still feels surreal.  I don’t see you anymore and you’re not here, buried how many feet down in the ground; but it feels like you should still be here.  Not seeing you feels wrong.

Going to your house, it’s weird not having you greet me at the door with one of your famous lines or watch you slowly descending down the stairs.  It’s sad not seeing you at church on a Sabbath and not hearing from you on my birthday wasn’t nice.  In fact, not being able to tell you happy birthday wasn’t nice either – August is our month and it’s a whole lot emptier without you.

There are times when sitting there thinking about you, suddenly remembering that you’re gone, can bring me to tears.  However, there are times when those thoughts bring a smile to my face, as I remember all the good memories I have of you.  Simple little things I took for granted are no longer the same and I wish I could hear another one of your Burton jokes again – you genuinely did make me laugh.

I still miss you so much grandad, a whole twelve months later, and I still want you to come back.  The pain isn’t so raw, but I don’t think my heart will ever fully recover from having you taken away.  There was still so much more for us to say, so much more time for us to spend together and a whole lot more for me to learn from you.  I keep thinking about the joke you told me about Job’s daughters, which you never finished and I never heard the end of, which saddens me more than I can describe.

Grandad, you were my inspiration and my hero, one of the people I looked up to most in the world.  I just hope I can make you proud and continue your legacy, because you were the most humble, loving, genuinely caring, considerate individual I ever knew.  I can’t wait to see you again.

Love you with all my heart.

Shan-Shan

I’ll Miss You Aunty

DSC_0043My family means the world to me, so losing any one of them is one of the hardest things in the world to deal with, especially when the loss is completely unexpected.  After losing my grandad back in March, I never imagined that I’d have to say a final goodbye to another one of my family members this year, but just under three months later, that is what happened.

Yesterday, I was shocked to the core to the learn of the death of my Aunty Joce.  With my grandad, I at least had some time to prepare for his death after witnessing his battle with illness, but with my aunty it came out of the blue.  I keep on replaying the moment I was told that she died over and over again, because it doesn’t seem real to me.  It’s like we’re all in a bad dream and I just want us to wake up out of it.  Now, all we have is memories.

Some of my most treasured memories with my Aunty Joce are from my childhood.  I loved going round to her maisonette nearby and sleeping over.  I remember sitting down to watch TV with her or reading Cinderella on her sofa.  I also liked when she would do my hair, as it would always look really pretty and extremely neat.  I’ll never forget the time she plaited my hair when my mum was a way, and then put the plaits into two bunches with my favourite hairbands.

My aunty later moved further away, so I saw her less than before, which made every event spent with her a priceless experience.  You could always count on her being the funny one – I know that family gatherings will be missing a lot of laughs without her.  Her quick wit and dry comments never failed to make me laugh, and watching her interact with my grandma was a hilarious source of entertainment.

I also enjoyed going to my aunty’s house, because she was so hospitable.  She always did what she could to ensure you were comfortable, whether that was through giving you a blanket or a pair of slippers.  If my Aunty Joce knew you were coming, she made sure there was food prepared and you would not be disappointed, because she was a real good cook – I used to love her delicious macaroni pie.  I’ll always remember her offering me and my sister a hot drink when we were at her house one evening and saying that we should have a decaf cappuccino she bought at the pound shop, because she thought that they were “very nice”, and you know what, she was right.

Of course, you can’t be hospitable without being caring, which my Aunty Joce was.  When she heard about my grandad, she ensured that she messaged me to show her support.  And when my dad broke his foot, she took the greatest care of him, which I will forever be grateful for.

My aunty also had a real sense of style.  It was great to see the different hats she wore and the different handbags she carried to match her outfits, but more than anything, it was about her reading glasses.  I recall being at my Aunty Joce’s house one day and her showing me and my sister the collection of reading glasses that she had.  When I commented that she had so many, she told me that it was so they could go with different outfits.  Green, purple, black – the glasses came in numerous colours, usually with diamantes on the sides or along the rim.  There was also this very compact pair, which I was amused and a little confused by, but she simply said that they were good for carrying in a small handbag.

My aunty was a gem who will be greatly missed, but she will always be in my heart and I am grateful for all of the memories I have.  I love you always and forever, Aunty Joce, and I hope to see you on that great day when Jesus comes again.  May you rest in peace.