The Life Cycle

Even as I celebrate my daughter’s pregnancy and my son’s imminent marriage, I got terrible news last night. My  favorite uncle, brother to the father I’ve been grieving on this blog, has pancreatic cancer. The very same cancer that took my father’s life. Lethal and fast moving. And, even though I wasn’t present when my father died, I now know it was a very painful death. A death my uncle witnessed.   I feel sick at heart over what he has in store for him. What he knows he has in store for him. I always imagine, no matter where my illness takes me, that the doctors would give me enough painkillers that there wouldn’t be much pain. Apparently that’s not always the case.

This is the uncle who taught me to ice skate with my  beloved twin cousins, Lenny and Joe, both already dead before their time.. He took us on wild sledding rides, the three of us screeching in terrified glee.  He taught us  to dive into our pool head first, hands properly pointed above our heads. To make a game of raking autumn  leaves and watching him set fire to them…then toasting marshmallows, carefully, his hand on our wrists to be sure we were safe. He taught the twins, already raucous,  to make practical jokes at my expense. He was the one who made noise on the roof for Santa on Christmas Eve, complete with bells for sound effects. Who truly enjoyed the company of us three little rug rats. And most importantly, who took us off the hands of our stressed out parents and provided a safety haven whenever we needed it most. 

I want to run to him and see him, its been years. I will go with my aunt, his sister,when she is over the shock and ready to plan our flight. I confess I am terrified.  It already feels so like what we went through with my father. I want to be strong and supportive but I’m afraid the similarities will curl me into a useless emotional fetal position..I keep telling myself that he’s not my father. He’s my uncle. I keep telling myself that he is 75. My father was 53.  I tell myself that we all have to die of something. As he has said, he’s had a good run.

It doesn’t help.  It doesn’t help at all. My roots are dying one by one, as nature intended. Thank God a new one is sprouting in my daughter’s womb.

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4 Responses to “The Life Cycle”

  1. Ali Says:

    I am so sorry you are going through this. I know how special uncles can be. I am thinking of my favorite uncle as I write this and can’t imagine losing him. Let me know if there is anything I can do.

  2. vanessaleighsblog Says:

    Psych: I am so sorry about this; it must be so sad for you, even when you try to think of all of the reasons that you can come to terms with it. A part of your inner child being is feeling this, DEEPLY, and that hurts beyond measure. I am holding you and your family in my thoughts and prayers, and sending you a BIG hug. Love, V.

    Thanks Van. You nailed it. My inner child is feeling this so very, very deeply (tears in her eyes).

  3. vanessaleighsblog Says:


  4. Your Uncle's friend,Sandy Says:

    He is a wonderful man and I pray for an easy passing for him . A new door will open for him ,one we know nothing about but my faith tells me he will be welcomed with open arms . We that are left behind will struggle with empty hearts , anger and in the end acceptance.We that are left ,know without admitting it, that as we lose each loved one we walk closer to that door . A mystery we will never solve until our passing comes . My prayers and heartfelt feelings are with you and all who love your uncle but my most prayers are for a him and may God spare him the pain your Dad went through . In the time he is with us we will offer comfort and love .He is a man of great courage.He has written many good works and they will bring us comfort and joy .
    We are only whispers , here and soon gone . Visual Art and the Written word live on . John’s words will live on .
    May strength and peace be with you through this journey .

    Dear Sandy,
    I just found this comment after a heart wrenching cry with my two aunts. They read it too, and we all feel so very blessed that you took the time to read this and reply so beautifully. I will return to this for comfort, I know. My uncle and Jan are blessed to have you for a friend. Warmly, “Psychscribe”
    God Bless

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