bob_me_and_mikeSometimes being a blogger isn’t a lot of fun. You have to be upbeat, funny, useful or what have you regardless of how you’re feeling or what’s going on in your life. I usually fake the minor things -a tax audit- well and don’t mention it. Other times things feel too personal to share but then you lack an explanation for your silence.

I will be away for a few days. My uncle died. We were very close, he was a loving father and supportive friend to me and a grandfather to my son. He collapsed while moving some boxes at the food bank, a part of his ministry. It was very unexpected, he was very active and thought to be in very good health. I am doing as well as can be expected but not focused enough to work, dealing with family things as I am.

As much as I appreciate your compassion, I would be happier were you to resolve to call a loved one you’ve not spoken to in awhile, maybe for years. It would bring me pleasure and peace to know who you called today.


  1. WendyB says:

    Okay, I’ll call my grandmother now.

    Coincidentally, I called a friend to whom I hadn’t spoken in a couple of years right before reading this but I won’t count that.

    My condolences for your loss.Report

  2. Dawn says:

    Kathleen, I lost my uncle just a few weeks ago. It was a sudden, unfortunate accident while he was on vacation. The whole family came to the funeral — cousins I hadn’t seen in many years. Now we are all chatting via email and just yesterday started a private online group thing so we can stay in touch better.

    We’ll miss you while you’re away.Report

  3. Victoria says:

    I made the hour long trek to Champaign, IL today to have lunch with my cousin, Debra. She is the only remaining relative I am close with. Today we chose to have lunch in our favorite haunt, Cafe Kopi. We’ve been going there for at least 15 years, however we figured out today that we had not been there together in over a year.

    We caught up on current events, talked about our past and had an otherwise delightful afternoon. Debra raises a breed of Egyptian Arabian horses. I have kids and grand kids. We both attempt to squeeze some ‘work’ in there, too, so the relaxing afternoon lunches and long talks are special times that do not happen often enough. We vowed to do better because we truly enjoy each others company.

    I was raised by an Aunt and Uncle on my Dad’s side. I was very close to an Uncle on my Mom’s side. Any kind of loss takes time to process and this is so much more. This is the loss of a special loved one. Give yourself the gift of time, Kathleen. The day to day will wait.

    This may be one of those too personal statements, but here goes…I talk with my God, as I know him, a lot when I sew. This is a busy sewing week for me and there will be a lot of ‘talk’ time. I will add you and your family in my prayers.

    Be well, my friend.


  4. dosfashionistas says:


    Even in your grief, you continue to teach us. Thank you for sharing so deeply. Remember that your uncle is beyond all pain or sadness now, rocked in the joy of the universe.

    I have a cousin I have not talked to in a long time. I will get in touch with her.Report

  5. Jasonda says:

    I’m very sorry to hear about this and I hope you and your family will be ok. He sounds like a wonderful and generous person and I am sure he will be missed by many people.

    I don’t have any long-lost relatives but I’ll email my mom, who I don’t talk to nearly often enough… :)Report

  6. Barb Taylorr says:

    What a moving way for you to ask us to show support, I will oblige in full. There is some kind of karma going on here because today I also received an e-mail with a phone number for my estranged older brother. I have not had much respect for him in recent years, but your heart-felt message has brought home how much I do still care for him. I will make that call. Thankyou for finding a way to let your sad loss generate something positive. I bet your uncle would be very proud of you.Report

  7. Cindy D says:

    My sincere condolences to you and your family. I called my daddy who I realized I really dont speak to as often as should. I love him very much and I plan to remind him more often.Report

  8. Jay Arbetman says:

    I lost my parents many years ago. My Mom almost 38 years ago.

    Here I am, almost 60 and they are a strong presence in my life. They’ve lived on as my conscience and my guide. 38 years after her death, my Mother helps me every day. She is still trying to make me a better person. 22 years after his death, not a day goes by that my Dad’s teachings are not part of my life. (he had a whole raft of garment manufacturer wisdom. On piece goods, “you start with shit you end with shit”. On a garment with a lousy fit, “that won’t fit a kangaroo”. Apparently regarding his sons, “this is the only business that you can learn something from an idiot” (you had to be there, this was funny not mean). Regarding technology “the apparel business has the finest minds of the 1930’s”).

    So the love, inspiration and guidance that your Uncle provided will live on long after his physical presence is gone. His memory will always be a blessing.Report

  9. Judy says:

    I am sorry for your loss. What a wonderful way to show your love for your uncle by asking us to reconnect with someone. I bet your uncle would be proud of what you ask people to do. I am the perfect example of you never know. About 1 month ago I was in great health since then I had a virus that attack my heart. I am 53 not that old. A friend of mine was over yesterday and was telling me it really woke her up that you just never know. I am lucky I will recover but the doctor said it does not always work out that way. So give that extra hug and smile that extra smile to someone that needs it.

  10. Melissa says:

    I am sorry for your loss. I have been meaning to catch up with my friend Michelle, I will give her a call. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.Report

  11. Kathleen, I am so sorry for your loss. I am though grateful to you for not only sharing so much, but doing it in such a positive light. Thank you for reminding us, without preaching, to remember what and who is important because we never know when our time will come. As you now know, in such heart ache, we can be in what we believe is good health on second, and gone the next.
    I am very sorry for your loss, my prayers go out to you and your family, and I thank you for being a great teacher.Report

  12. Mugsy says:

    So sorry to hear of your loss. I will be calling my Uncles in Saskatoon tonight in your Uncle’s memory.
    Thank you to a terrific teacher (in all ways now…)Report

  13. Dorothy Klein says:

    My deepest condolences for your loss of such a special person. You will be in my prayers and of all the special people I know who pray with me. To those of you finding it painful to reconnect with an estranged friend or family member: Reconnecting with a loving heart is sometimes easier if you can mentally separate the person from the behaviors that caused pain. You can love a person, remembering all the blessings he or she has bestowed on your life while praying for insight and behavioral change for past painful issues. Never underestimate that during these times of estrangement, that process may already be well underway. God bless you all in your attempts; may all broken hearts heal.Report

  14. Rocio says:

    My most sincere and deepest condolences go out to you and your family…
    I decided to call my uncle Jon in England who is the only one still sending paper cards for every birthday, anniversary and Christmas.Report

  15. Denise says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your uncle. He sounds like an incredibly giving, thoughtful person…someone I know I should aspire to be more like. Yes, sometimes it does take the loss of someone to re-connect with others. I’m going to re-connected with a couple of friends that I’ve lost contact with for all of those dull, quotidian reasons.Report

  16. Karen C. says:

    Sorry about your loss. My father died almost 4 months ago, but it brought my sisters and I closer together. They just flew out from Wyoming to San Francisco for the weekend.Report

  17. Kirk Watson says:

    Sorry to hear of your loss. I called my brother today. I haven’t spoken to him in 3 years, for good reasons and not so good reasons. It was painful but I’m glad I did it. Thank you.Report

  18. Jere Brooks says:

    My condolences, Kathleen. I’m going to spend time with my 22 year old today, whom I’ve hardly seen for the last year. These connections are so precious. I’m really sorry.Report

  19. Kathleen, I’m sorry about your uncle. Your love and compassion, reminding and encouraging us to maintain, strengthen or reestablish relations is inspiring, particularly while dealing with your grief.

    I’m generally good about keeping in touch with people and letting them know I’m appreciating them. Your comments have resulted in more of me going out to those I care about.Report

  20. Gini says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    I am so sorry to hear this sad news from you. You were there for me when my husband collapsed and died in front of my eyes a year and half ago in a huge snowstorm. All my efforts to revive him were useless, but I have had the comfort of knowing I was there and did all I could. Our last exchange was a joyful kiss which has strengthened me knowing that in a 25 year marriage a squabble over nothing could just as easily been the last exchange when something so sudden happens. His older brother and four children were left as stunned and bereft as I was not to mention the thousands of friends he had made over his lifetime. I imagine your uncle has left behind a similar grieving community of people based on what you wrote. I will call my brother-in-law and stepchildren today although I try to keep in touch with them on a frequent basis. It is so true that heartbreak like this starkly clarifies what is truly important in life and that it is the love and people who matter most. My sincere condolences. – GiniReport

  21. Doris W. says:

    Kathleen – I am very sorry about your uncle. He was a lucky man to have you for a niece.
    I have an 86 y/o friend who is very special to me for over 20 years, and recently diagnosed with lung cancer (former smoker). She is like a real mother to me. I continue to tell her how important she is to me, and that I love her. Take care. (((Hugs)))Report

  22. Kathleen says:

    Thank you friends. I was very gratified to read of your calls to friends and family you’d not spoken with. Such a gift, such kindness, I thank you all for respecting my wishes. What I hadn’t expected was to be a recipient of a call myself. A loved one I had not known was reading my blog, called me after reading this. We had not spoken in years, mostly my fault because I was annoyed. How petty of me.

    I’ve not lost many close to me. My brother when I was a young woman, he was 19. I stayed jovially drunk for a week, drinking bourbon from a coffee cup (grandma was about you know) and ironed. Everything. Including my neighbors shirts, sheets and tablecloths. I was a picture, scavenging the linen closet for worthy conquests and knocking on doors asking for unpressed shirts. I was better behaved this go round, pew seated in the same church I saw my uncle married in.

    It’s the qualities we admire in our loved ones that we miss when they die. Those qualities die with them -but it doesn’t have to. I’m thinking that forever in the future when someone I love dies, it becomes incumbent upon me to change myself, to become that aspect of them I admired so much. This way I improve and my loved one never truly dies.

    I can’t tell you of the one thing I admired greatly about my uncle because I’m filled with trepidation I will fail in my attempt to adopt and undertake the same. Call it a penance or productive grieving but I may be perfect before I die.Report

  23. Dorothy Klein says:

    Today is the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a natural disaster complicated by multiple man-made catastrophes. All of us here became instant partners in grief for an entire community. What I can share from 5 years of continuing to try come out on the other side of tragedy is very simple. Many never faced with this level of loss might call it trite. The lessons I’ve learned are simple. 1) Everyone is important. Those we have lost who are known only to God are as big a loss as those we lost who are near and dear to us. 2) Love is the most powerful force in the world, and the more we share it , the more we heal each other. Those who believe in Christ may relate this to “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, this you do unto me. 3) Even in our deepest time of loss, we are the recipients of God’s greatest gifts, reassurance, and strengths. No matter how much each of us has lost, we’ve been blessed with greater hope, resilience, love and a level of strength of whic we could never have dreamed ourselves capable. May God bless all of you as she has me since this darkest hour. Anyone who was ever here in the darkness will tell you of the incredible night sky full of stars we would never have seen in the competing light.Report

  24. Stuart Anderson says:

    Sorry to hear of your loss. I take to heart your wish for us to contact our loved ones and will do so right this instant … thank you for your inspiration and endless giving.Report

  25. Milena says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, Kathleen. I am thinking of you, and I am grateful that you are always here for me, for all of us. I absolutely agree that the ones we love are never truly gone as long as we respect their memory by doing our best to exemplify the qualities that defined them. It is how they leave their mark. Again, I deely sympathize…Report

  26. Marie-Christine says:

    Thanks. I called a couple friends, have more on the list. You’re so right, unfortunately :-(.
    You don’t have to blog when you don’t feel like it, and there’s no better reason not to feel like it.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *