*I can't believe we're back here again so soon, saying goodbye to another of my mom's siblings, less than three months since Aunt Kathie died. Uncle Cliff, my mom's youngest brother, and my godfather, died suddenly yesterday, at the age of 73, in his hometown in Nebraska.
I asked dad if Sarah seemed like she would be open to hearing from a Richmond cousin, and he said yes, so I called and left her a message, and got choked up and sounded like a complete idiot -- not the first impression I wanted to leave with a cousin I'd never spoken with before, especially as I was calling to offer help and comfort, not cry in her ear. Tonight I had a better hold on my emotions and left a more "together" message for her.
So, we don't yet know anything about funeral arrangements, or if my parents can attend. My dad is currently undergoing daily radiation for his prostate CA, so it is doubtful that they'll be able to go. My mom was told the news yesterday, but according to my dad, seems to have already forgotten about it. I'm toying with the idea of going myself, although I haven't ever been to Nebraska nor met these cousins - we've only emailed. I imagine with the six cousins and their spouses, they may have things under control, but part of me feels like there should be a representative from the Richmond contingent present at Cliff's funeral; someone who can also pay their respects at Kathie's grave, as well as Uncle Mick's (mom's other brother who passed away about a decade ago), and our grandparents' graves. Someone who can mourn for her siblings in place of my mother, whose failing memory won't allow for that. Not sure if it's realistic for me to make such a trip, but it might be do-able. We shall see....
The last time I saw Uncle Cliff was around 1998 or thereabouts, when he came to Richmond and stayed with my parents. I was taking a COBOL class at the time, and since Cliff was an old-time COBOL programmer, he helped me with a particularly difficult programming assignment. I'll always remember him fondly for that. But more than that, he's always been my godfather, which gives him a special place in my heart.
I do think it is merciful, his passing so quickly, even as hard as it is on his kids. Better this than a long-suffering illness.
Here's a picture of my mother and her siblings, back in the 1940's: