I feel like I should just "suck it up" or "keep a stiff upper lip" but I am a mess. And I should respect my own grieving process. My uncle died February 26th and I didn't realize that it was having such a big effect on me. I was trying to be there for my dad. His rock. His shoulder....
Little things are slipping through the cracks. Details are being lost.... How many stages of grief are there?
My first memory of my Uncle Harvey was when I was four. It was night time and I remember the adults voices were a bit stressed. The area of Santa Monica we were visiting was a bit darker than even the hour of day would suggest. Mom, Dad and I climbed a rickety stairwell and knocked on the weather worn door. A bare bulb hung from the ceiling, a bare mattress on the floor greeted our eyes. He had a wild look about him. It made me a bit uncomfortable. There seemed to be relief in the voices around me as I played with the miniature wooden orange crate, given to occupy my little hands. I can still remember how it felt hearing my family worry about uncle, when he took off to wander the world and changed his name to Lance. Why can't I change my name? I would hear stories about how sharp his wit, how clever his poems were when he was a teen. It wasn't until I was a bit older that I could kind of understand about his schizophrenia. At 9, for no apparent reason he gave me $40. A kingly sum for my age that I'm sure he needed, which had the house hold in an uproar. "WHY are you giving her THAT MUCH money?!?!"
I remember his response: "I've never given her a birthday present."
It wasn't my birthday.
His jokes were funny because they made no sense. I think he knew that.
The price paid for a coherent conversation with him was the jitters brought on by his medication.
Throughout the years he would show up unexpectedly. We'd have a sandwich. A couple of bucks would be given, and then we wouldn't see him for a while. The worry faded over the years but never went away.
He had a great laugh. I miss him.