Except for the Memories,We Fade Away

26 May

It has  been a year since we unveiled my uncle’s monument.  I am certain that both his life and his death following a four year struggle with Lewy Body disease have made me a better person. This is a look back at the time shortly after his passing in December, 2012.

My uncle before Lewy Body got to him.

My uncle before Lewy Body got to him.

Earlier today I got really emotional when I saw my uncle’s hand-writing on a document I had just been given. Why I could get so choked up over a set of initials in blue ink got me thinking about how quickly an ordinary person’s mark on this earth fades away after death. No matter how extraordinary that individual might be to us, the signs of their presence within the context of the greater world will inevitably become fainter and fainter with each passing day. So much so, that even the smallest reminders of a time before my uncle’s descent into dementia are reason to rejoice. Or in my case, tear up.

He and I when we were both young.

He and I when we were both young.

I went through a similar mix of emotions when clearing out my uncle’s belongings after he moved into the nursing home. Within a matter of weeks the amount of personal items he had were almost as few as what little there was left of him. But there was still some of them, and some of him. This time it’s different. He’s really gone. This week marked three months since his passing from Lewy Body disease. Eventually the taxes and paperwork will be sorted out.  And other than a headstone to mark his grave, there will be no other outward signs that he was here.

As long as I still have the ability to remember — and as long as I’m driving and paying for parking  — Uncle Benny will always live on in my memory.  But his actual footprint, the one that marked the myriad of ways that for over 95 years he was part of this world, is disappearing. And that’s why three tiny letters in his distinctive hand-writing had me holding back my tears this morning.

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3 Responses to “Except for the Memories,We Fade Away”

  1. Kelly March 8, 2013 at 3:44 am #

    Really moving Judi. You have always spoken so lovingly of your uncles. I’m sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing

    • dementiadeli March 8, 2013 at 4:04 am #

      Thanks Kelly. I really appreciate your feedback. It’s probably a good thing we didn’t meet up today because I was a bit of a mess after I left the court office. BTW, this blog was started as a project for a digital communications strategy course I’m taking at U. of T.

  2. Michelle Saunders May 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Beautifully written Judi. I will be thinking of you today.

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