Writing about loss

Today’s Prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

It’s uncanny, sometimes, how parts of our lives unexpectedly coincide. For instance, I heard only about an hour before receiving this Writing 101 prompt that my uncle passed away a few days ago. Maybe this is the universe giving me a chance to talk about him and his passing without the pressure of the family’s reactions and expectations.

I’m not sure what I feel about it at the moment. The post prompt advised that we need not write a sad or depressive piece; rather just to write about what is no longer there. So that’s what I’ll do.

He was my last uncle, at least that I know of. He was my mother’s older brother. I’m not sure if any of my dad’s brothers still live, as I’ve never known that side of my family. But my Uncle B was a part of my youth and I will miss him.

The greatest memory I have of Uncle B was a road trip I took with him and my grandmother (his mother) the summer I was twelve years old. They had come to my house for a visit and were taking me with them back to my gran’s home for a visit with her and my aunt (her daughter) and cousins.

He was an over the road trucker and did all the driving, even though my gran was an accomplished road tripper. It was a two day trip, across long stretches of empty prairie, so there was a considerable amount of boredom. To pass the time, stay awake and to keep me entertained, he liked to play games. These were word games, speaking games that he could do while driving, with no playing board or pieces.

One of his favorites was a definition game. He’d describe something in terms of its effect on the world, or its relationship to other things. The goal was, of course, to identify the thing, but also to identify as many alternative words or synonyms to describe it as possible. He was really inventive in his description, delighted in stumping me and then helping me understand the words I didn’t know. He was particularly good with collective terms for animals, like a congregation of alligators, a shrewdness of apes, or a sleuth of bears. I remember being so chuffed at guessing some of them (a glaring of cats, a skulk of foxes), because he would crow at my cleverness and make me feel ten feet tall.

Then, when we got home to my gran’s, we went to the zoo in a nearby city to look at all the animals we had discussed on the road. My cousins and I would try to decide if there were enough of any one type to qualify for the collective term. I think we decided that for most things a minimum of three was required, but that maybe you only needed two for a memory of elephants.

But Uncle B was at the center of the fun. He made that trip a memory I still cherish 34 years later.

Though he was only a part of my life as a larger than life visitor every few years as I grew up, I remember him as a warm, smart, hearty fellow with a sharp, dry wit. He was big and tall and loud, yet he was fun and easy to be with, even though nearly half a century separated us in age.

Rest in power Uncle B.

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5 comments so far

  1. desleyjane on

    What a beautiful, well-written and heartfelt tribute. He sounds like a wonderful and intelligent man. I am sorry for your loss.

  2. MainelyButch on

    Yes, a superbly written piece, and it made me want to know this gentleman! He is honored by your tribute I am sure. And I like your “rest in power”…that is great. I am sorry for your loss, and thank you for sharing at this most tender time. ~MB

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      Oh, thank you. I’m so pleased you connected with him through my writing.

  3. Billy on

    Something we will never get used to, death. Because good or bad, people just don’t go in our minds. These prompts are interesting 🙂


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