When I hear the word “gentleman” I always think of my Uncle Keith. He was quiet but confident, strong (he worked the land) but tender. He was a central figure in my formative years. He and my Aunt Norma were our “go to” babysitters when my mom and dad were away for a few days or a week. My brother and I lived on the farm and walked beans a few summers in our adolescents.
This morning Uncle Keith passed away.
This morning I’ve been thinking about the current we all find ourselves in. It starts out like the lazy river and getting downstream seems to be a slow, meandering journey. Along the way we start to pick up speed, at first unnoticed but then we feel the passage more deeply. Grey hairs, slower recovery, calories sticking more fiercely to our frame. It’s the same river but now, closer to where it empties into the vast Sea and what waits beyond, it feels like it’s in a rush.
So this morning I am feeling both sad and assured. Sad that my Uncle is further than a Facebook message, phone call or visit away. Sad that an icon of my childhood and simpler times of hay lofts, old comic books and country life have rushed just that much further on ahead of me.
But assured. Assured that he and my Aunt are close together again. Assured that he finished well, leaving like the gentleman I have always known him to be. Assured that where he goes I will follow.
What I have come to learn is that all that I can take with me is the love from relationships I have been part of here on earth. All that I can leave behind that matters are a legacy of a life well lived, friends well loved and family who carry a piece of my heart into their future on this river meandering and then rushing to the immense Sea. Uncle Keith leaves these good things behind and carries with him the love of a family on whom he has left, gently, an indelible mark.