Dear Uncle Walt

 

Dear Uncle Walt, 
Tomorrow it will be 4 months since your death. I think of you every day. I miss hearing your voice. I miss your strength. You never shied away from life. You had a fair share of heartaches, the most painful being the loss of your beloved wife, Mae. She suffered immensely for years with a hereditary illness, that among many things, took away her sight. She spent so much of her life in the hospital, especially towards the end. You were so devoted to her. I know it broke your heart when she died. And yet even with so much pain and loss, you were ready to get up each day and try again. No matter how much was taken away from you, you kept on going, facing everyday as it came. 
The global pandemic is still going on here on Earth. A lot of people are suffering, and the losses keep adding up. My friends are also suffering, so they forget to ask me how I am doing since losing you. My grief gets swept aside as everyone is dealing with their own challenges. And that's ok. It's ok if they forget about you, because I think of you so often it would more than compensate for their forgetfulness. 


I've started texting your brother Alan more frequently since losing you. Maybe I just needed a place to send all the love that I can't give to you anymore. We both miss you a lot. As always, he uses humor to cope. I notice how similar he is to you, in the way that he doesn't easily express his emotions, but shows his love in actions, just like you always did. He checks on me to make sure I am doing ok in my new temporary home with kind hearted friends that took me in when the pandemic stole away my job and my home. He sent me photos of you that he thought I might like. He texts me funny memes, - although I don't always understand them - because our sense of humor is very different, but I always love hearing from him. 
The other night I sat on that reclining lawn chair you gave me, and looked up at the stars. My friends and I were encircled around a campfire. I thought of you, out there somewhere, beyond the stars. I also thought of my life partner, on the other side of the planet while the pandemic continues to keep us apart. I reflected on the expansiveness of love. The love of the friends with me around that campfire. The love of my beloved man half a world away. And your love with me still, as strong as ever. I sat there, under the stars, in awe of the magnitude of the human heart that is able to hold so much love and pain all at once. Maybe humans spend too much time trying to carefully unravel and remove the pain from the love, not recognizing that they are so deeply intertwined, one with the other, that they could not exist independently. Just as the inhale cannot exist separately from the exhale, we are in constant motion, always taking in and letting go. 
As usual, my letter to you got a bit lengthy. Thanks for always listening and for loving me for exactly who I am in each moment. 
I miss our talks. 
Send my love to Mae and Grandmom. 
Love always, 
Jennifer 

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