Friday, December 20, 2013

The Light Shines in the Darkness


As Solstice arrives tomorrow, the light will start to return to us in these northern climes.  But today I am grieving a light that will not return to me ever again, the light that my dear Uncle John brought into my life from the day I was born.  He died today, so far from me that I could not bring any comfort to him in his last days.  I think it is that that I grieve today, more than his passing, for he had been ill for many months and I am comforted that his dying was neither painful nor prolonged.  But I think of all the comfort and joy he brought to me all my days, and I am sad that I could not have been with  him as he died.

My Uncle John was just 12 years old when I was born, and he lived just up the hill with my Grandma and Grandpa.  So he was more like a wonderful older brother to me than an uncle.  He taught me to swim and to paddle when I was just a little girl, he taught me the names of the plants and the trees and the animals, and he was always kind and patient with me and fun to be with.  We lived on a lake, with surrounding meadows and woods, an incredible playground for a girl and her big-brother uncle to frolic in.  On Christmas mornings, I looked forward more to his arriving than I did to all the presents under the tree.  Imagine that!

I loved his children, and then later, he loved mine, showering them with enthusiastic appreciation for all that they were and teaching them some of the very things he had taught me as a child:  love of nature, love of music, and how to be loving and kind.  He was a fine musician, and boy, could he tell a good story! 

We hadn't spent Christmas morning together since I was still in high school, way back in the 1950s.  But that sense of joy and excitement that's still attached to how I feel about Christmas morning has much to do with how much I loved my uncle and rejoiced in his company.   Now and for all the rest of my days I rejoice in that memory.

12 comments:

Bill and dogs said...

What a lovely and touching story. Thank you for telling it and also for the accompanying photograph. I am sorry for your loss but grateful for your sharing, not only this event, but everything I've learned from your blog.

threecollie said...

Aw, I am so sorry.....

The Furry Gnome said...

So good to have those memories of someone special.

Barbara said...

Peace be with you.

Virginia said...

Thinking of you. The picture you posted is a nice tribute to him.

suep said...

I remember standing next to you in looking out at that scene, you wanted to know what the trees were that stood behind the birches,
your uncle lives on in the spirit of curiosity that he shared with you. Sorry to hear of his passing.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jackie, As you tell this, he is with you. As you share your amazing photos, your life's journey of walks and paddles, plants and stories (things he taught you), you are with him. So it is with those we love dearest - we are never truly separated. I'm sure he is delighted beyond measure at the lives you've touched (mine included) with your precious gifts. I am reminded of a line from the Book of Thomas the Contender: "It is in Light that Light exists." Bless you. In sympathy, Mary J.

rgh said...

Thank God for Nice Memories, and thanks for
all your wonderful photographs.

wanderingaroundtheblock said...

What a lovely picture and tribute to someone who was so close to you. I'm sure he lives on in your love of nature.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Oh my dear friends, I do thank you for your kind words of condolence and appreciation. I am truly touched by your thoughtfulness.

catharus said...

Very sorry to hear of your loss, Jackie, but touched by your story. The picture is very appropriate (and beautiful)!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic photo Jackie.

Happy New Year to you and your family.
John and Mary O'Connor