Monday, April 26, 2010

I Didn't Get To Say Goodbye

One of the hardest things for expats and transplants to other countries face, is the loss of a family member, back in their homeland.
I am experiencing such a loss this week, with the passing of my favorite uncle Len, who unexpectedly became poorly and passed from Pneumonia complications on Friday.

Uncle Len was always a positive influence in my life, I spent many a night with my three cousins and was always treated like one of his own.
He was a kind, gentle man, hard-working and dedicated to his family.
A storyteller and always had a smile on his face.

I shudder to think what a tremendous hole it will be leaving in the hearts of his three girls and my Auntie Maude his beloved wife of some sixty years.

The best I can do, is to remember him in my prayers, ask God to wrap his arms around his loved ones and keep them strong.
The most I can hope for, is that when our time on earth is through, we have been decent enough human beings, to all meet up again, swap our stories, and enjoy one huge family gathering .
Uncle Len will no doubt have his fishing pole.

I didn't get to say goodbye
Or thank you for the kindness shown throughout the years
For always treating me as 'one of your girls'
For allowing me to spend endless giggly nights in your home,
For making me toast and tea in the mornings.
For always making me feel welcome.
For making me laugh.
For mending my dollies.
For loving animals.
For loving my cousins with all your heart,
For dedicating your life to my Auntie Maude.
For giving me rides home from Liverpool on your Number 5 , green, Crosville Bus.
For being a true friend to my family.
For coming to my wedding.
For sending me Christmas cards each year,
For always being happy to see me, no matter how many years pass between visits.
For being a man I was proud to call my Uncle, and one I shall miss with a passion.

The First Sergeant planted one of the Dogwood Trees in remembrance of Uncle Len today.
The Dogwood is more than a is a representation of life.
A life well-lived.
Farewell Uncle Len, you were one of the good 'uns.


Butternut Squash said...

I'm so sorry. You wrote a beautiful tribute. Peace to you and your family.

Old Centennial Farmhouse said...

I'm sorry about your uncle, it must be hard being so far from loved ones. I think planting the dogwood is a sweet thing, we have a tree planted in memory of my dad and it's a very special tree to me. You might enjoy the story on my blog today, it was also a tree planted to remember...

Carol said...

Condolences and hugs. He sounded like a wonderful person to have known.

Maura @ Kisiwa Creek Photography said...

Jo, I'm so sorry to learn of the loss of someone so special to you. What a beautiful tribute the tree and your writing is in his honor. Your Uncle Len sounds like he was a wonderful man and was well loved by everyone. That is the other thing that you can do for your Uncle...REMEMBER... remember all the wonderful memories you have of your time together with him and your Aunt and your cousins. That's something that will ALWAYS be with you no matter what. Best wishes to you Jo. Maura

Betsy Brock said...

I'm so sorry, Jo! What a beautiful post you have about your sweet uncle! I love the tree planting idea! :)

DeniseinVA said...

It is very hard Jo, I lost my own Uncle Len this past Christmas. My heart goes out to all of you. this was a very sweet, warm and loving tribute.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Such a lovely tribute to a good and decent man. Sorry for your loss.

Deanna said...

Dear One,
So very sorry about this loss in your family and especially for the loss of your favorite Uncle Len.

May God comfort you throughout this time of grieving and sorrow.

d from HomeHaven

Mary Lou said...

Peace to you and yours.
My aunt's property got hit by the tornado just an hr North of you. Hope you made it ok.
Blessings to you now.

Margaret said...

I am so sorry to hear about your Uncle Len. Your new Dogwood tree will be a great delight.

DJan said...

It's always hard when we don't get to say goodbye, but you have written a wonderful tribute and I cannot help but think he hears it somehow....

Natasha in Oz said...

I think this is the perfect way to say Good-bye. What a beautiful tribute to your Uncle Len. May he rest in Peace.

Warmest regards,

HEATHER said...

I'm so sorry. Beautiful tribute.

matron said...

So sorry to hear of your loss.Your uncle was a lovely man and I thought your tribute to him was so apt and loving.Planting a tree was a lovely idea to remember him by.

e said...

Being an expat myself, i can truly understand what you're feeling, Jo. I've lost distant loved ones before. Now, my own dad is battling cancer since last autumn. So, from across the pond i send you a great big bear hug. (((Jo))) Thank you for sharing such a special person with us. :)

rjerdee said...

God's peace be with you.

Susan said...

Your dogwood tree for your dear
relative will bloom every year in his honor.

L. D. said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It is hard to not be near and to be able to mourn with the family. My youngest son missed so many funerals because he lived in Maine. It is hard for him to know that his three different family members are gone. I loved the planting of the tree. I have a pin oak planted in memory of someone and I almost alway think of where they are buried and the pin oak that grows near her grave. Take care. I hope you weather hasn't hurt any of you.

Barbara Anne said...

How blessed your whole family has been to have a wonderful,kind, gentle, and generous man like Uncle Len to love and to love you one and all.

As Peter Marshall wrote ...
"Those we love are with the Lord and the Lord has promised to be with us. If they are with Him and He is with us, they cannot be far away."

May those words bring you and your family the comfort they've brought me in the years since 1983 when a kind soul shared them with me after my father died.

The dogwood is lovely.

Rest in peace, Uncle Len.


Stella Jones said...

I know how you feel Jo. My uncle died recently too. It's like losing a little piece of yourself each time, isn't it. He will live on in your memory. Your wrote a lovely tribute to him.
Blessings, Star

Lisa said...

What a beautiful post! What I wish for you right now is: "ask God to wrap his arms around his loved ones and keep them strong." You said it best and I wish you strength at this very sad time.

mkgchgs4meDeb said...

I too would like to offer my condolences to you on the loss of your beloved Uncle. Your tribute was beautifully written and I teared up thinking of just how hard this must be for you. God bless you and your family (especially Auntie Maude) as they grieve the loss. Prayers being said for you during this time.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

What a neat tribute to Uncle Len, Jo... And to have a dogwood tree in his memory is just so special..

Hope you have a great week.

Jill of All Trades said...

So sorry for your loss.

By the way do you take all the pictures on your blog. They are so awesome.

Gerald (SK14) said...

A lovely tribute your uncle Len - you may not near him in miles but are certainly near in spirit and I'm happy to have a glimpse and share your memories of him.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

I truly appreciate all the condolences and sentiments at this sad time.
I have a feeling Uncle Len will know he is being thought about, and was a well-loved man. One whose memory will be forever in my heart.
Thank you sweet blogger friends, you are indeed the best !

Marilyn said...

My condolences to you and your family.

John Bailey said...

I'm so sorry, Jo. It's tough, and I wish you quiet times.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I'm just catching up on your blog and wanted to tell you how very sorry I am for the loss of your Uncle!! You've written such a lovely and very fitting tribute to a man who sounds like he had a positive influence on your life. The tree will be a wonderful memorial to him and the memories that will always live on in your heart!

Susan Freeman said...

I am so sorry for your loss. What a lovely tribute you wrote. Somehow, I think he knows how much he meant to you.

Susan and Bentley

Michael said...

This is so true and i am so sorry for your uncle's passing with you so far away.

My sister just got married and I didn't get to go. My mother got carted off in tears from her house to a home adn I am not there to help or cheer her. sometimes I wonder if any of this is even worth it unless on is fortunate enough to have a better financial situ/fam, etc.

David J. M. Samson said...


I am so sorry for your loss.

I have only been away from my home country (Scotland) for 10 months, and I have been lucky enough to not have to experience such a loss. Yet.

I prefer not to think about such things, but my practical side knows it will happen one day. It is easy to say that I am only a flight away should some disaster take place, but it isn't the same.

I know it must be difficult for you. My thoughts are with you and your family x

Kim said...

Uncle Len knows...

Anonymous said...

That is a beautiful post. A wonderful tribute to an obviously lovely man.

CJ xx

Unknown said...

This so true for us expats, it is one of the toughest parts,. My condolences to you and your family, this was a lovely tribute.

Jane said...

Josephine, many months have past since my Dad passed away and to suddenly discover this tribute to him was wonderful.

The words you use to describe your memories of Dad ring so true and it is an amazing source of comfort to think that he has been remembered so far away and that there is a tree to honour him and that people are thinking about him too.

He truly was a wonderful Dad and Uncle and you have managed to put that into words in such a beautiful way.

Thank you so much, Jane x

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Hello there cousin Jane,
Thank you for stopping by, and leaving such a lovely comment.
My words came very easy, they were from the heart.

Uncle Len was indeed a special man, and a positive role model in my life, for that I am eternally grateful.

I think of him and Auntie Maude often, as with you all, and wish you much love, happiness, and contentment.

My love to everyone,