Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Tattoo my being

I've been thinking a lot about my uncle over the past few days. He passed away unexpectedly in 2004 due to a massive heart attack.

But in the time I knew him, he managed to impact my life in so many ways that it would take words upon words upon words to express. To honour him, I feel as though I need to share a little snippet of my (and my brother's) relationship with him. The reason for this is because our experiences with him will forever be embedded in our beings. He was one in a million and we miss him terribly. However, when little things and minor events in our day to day remind us of him, we realize that he will never be forgotten and that his memory will move on with us for as long as we are alive.

Something triggered this blog post... I'll get into it as you read on... but let me give you a little bit of a backgrounder on him.

When I was born, he was still unmarried.
My mum was one of seven siblings. She was number three and he was number six. The 10-year gap between the two of them made them have a relationship that was almost suited to mother and son. He was a rambunctious child who preferred playing and getting into trouble over studying, and she was the stern older sister who showed her love by trying to get him to abide by the rules.

This followed suit even after I was born. My brother was two by the time I came along and from what I hear, he had turned into my uncle's tail -- following him everywhere... even to the top of the roof over grandma's house.

My uncle was the first person to carry me... the first person to bring me home from the hospital. I guess it was predetermined that he and I would always share a special bond. He was always forward in his ability to keep up with trends, in terms of music, dressing and technology.

Therefore you can imagine that my brother and I received most, if not all our exposure to music from him. He, along with my mother's four other brothers, used to have a field day by getting my brother and me to dance to music that they would listen to.

For just as much as my brother was his tail... I was his parrot. While he followed him around, I mimicked every word, phrase and comment that he made. You can imagine that this wasn't always a good thing. He never censored himself around me... which, as bad as it was, was actually quite funny. I can accredit my first swear word to him. I can accredit my first threat (fist clenched at age two, and everything) to him as well. I can say he taught me my first dirty joke and had me run around and tell every adult in the room... even though I didn't understand it at the time. In fact, I can thank him for corrupting my mind before I could even speak.

He was a big guy. in his short life, he acquired every bad habit from swearing to smoking to drinking to eating all things bad... but one thing that no one could ever match or take away from him, was his ability to love. He was, and probably always will be one of the most loving individuals I ever had the chance of knowing.

Everyone thought he was hard headed and stubborn. I don't disagree with that. But he was also the most warm and caring person I knew. When someone hurt him, he would present a stone cold exterior... because he was hurt... not a lot of people realized that and took it as a bad sign.

I didn't get a chance to physically say goodbye to him. That fact has always haunted me. It still does.

But something happened a couple of days ago.
I was sitting on the couch and watching TV with my mother, when suddenly a song came to my mind. One that I hadn't heard, sung or thought of, since the time I was a little girl.

It was a song by this 80s band named, Modern Talking. When he moved to the Middle East to work after getting married, he had sent my brother and me a music tape of their album. Mum used to play it for us every night as we went to sleep, on the small cassette player in our room.

The point is, the song came out of nowhere. So, automatically, I ran over to YouTube and found a list of songs by this group.... I couldn't believe the memories (good ones) that came flooding back to me. Memories that made me smile... and even dance a little bit.

At one point my mother walked into the room as the music was playing and looked at me with eyes wide open and said, "I was thinking about him too..."

... and I think that was his way of saying that he's still with us... but that God willing, he's at peace.

Memories of you are cherished and your life will forever be honoured, Uncle Roy!


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