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.