January 23, 2007 § 7 Comments
I just found out that my “uncle” Bill committed suicide on January 7th.
He wasn’t a blood relative, but living overseas and being a military kid made them hard to come by. In all aspects, he was closer than any of my ‘real’ uncles ever could be. I remember being as young as four years old and running through his house, eating candy, and going to the old once-screen movie theater on the military compound in the Philippines. I remember looking up to his older kids and wanting to be like them. Our familes worked our way around the world and ending up in the same city in Florida. I remember holiday gatherings, taking his younger son to Lollapalooza, and babysitting his grandson. He was there for me when my father died, as well as there for me when I got married.
And then I remember hearing about Aunt Cathy losing her long battle with cancer. I was already in Atlanta at the time, and sent condolences through my family still in Florida. I heard he had changed dramatically, obviously depressed by his loss. Mom hadn’t been in touch with him, the yearly Christmas letter stopped arriving, and “I don’t know” became the answer when we asked about him.
There’s always a sense of regret with someone’s passing. I know this because it took me years to come to terms with my father’s death. He was such a good friend to my parents and us, and I feel awful about losing touch with him during the last couple of years. I have no idea what he was going through. I can’t imagine what it took for him to take his own life and leave his kids and grandchildren behind. All of those times I could have (should have) called have passed, and now I’ll never get to tell him how much he was loved by us.