Uncle Joe died last night.
He was close to 90 and looked it, a WW II vet who had quite a time watching Flags of Our Fathers with my brothers and cousins when they took him to the movie, and the kind and loving family patriarch, the eldest brother as my dad was the youngest, and I remember when Dad died how it broke Uncle Joe so to lose him, the baby of the family.
Last spring when we had a family party to celebrate the visit of overseas relatives, Uncle Joe nearly fell when Vincent grabbed his cane from behind, and then he nearly fell over laughing when he discovered the impediment.
I think he had a good life, I hope so. I know, and I know that he knew, he was loved loved loved.
A poem for today, not exactly for Uncle Joe, but a poem that captures the mood of this Sunday of mourning, by Christine Garren, from her collection, The Piercing:
I lived next door to a graveyard. No one I loved was buried there,
and so I ran to it daily, to its small conversational birds.
Through the gate I saw a woman once
walking along the paths until she disappeared.
And the yard was filled with berries that thickened and vanished
in the incendiary day.
The insects sang upwards and around
while the birds returned to the mantels of their nests,
and I read the dates of the passed-on again and again
until my own was called, aloud,
both parts of it, across the yard.