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Mixed Feelings

I received a card from my Aunt Diana today. Diana is the only member of my extended family (and it’s a very large one) with whom I’m still in contact, so she keeps me up to date on weddings, deaths, etc.

On February 22nd, my uncle Kenny died. His memorial service was yesterday, or I might have gone. Memories of Kenny are full of conflict for me.

Though he was my mother’s brother, Kenny was my father’s drinking buddy, so I knew him better than the other uncles. He was my favorite uncle by default, I suppose. His sons were infrequent playmates.

When my father left when I was a teenager (no, he wasn’t missed), he made absolutely no contact–we assumed he was dead. My mom and Kenny dropped contact, for reasons I didn’t understand at the time. I didn’t realise he’d been a better friend to Dad than to his own sister. When my mother died a few years later, it was Kenny who called my dad and had him get in touch with me. Enough time had passed that this was a welcome contact–his call just a day after Mom’s wake helped me cope with her death.

When my father died, I was briefly–and uncomfortably–in touch with Kenny. I promised him I’d have a wake, but the truth was that I didn’t want the old drunkard in my house. I avoided the subject, and never had the wake.

So tonight, when tentative sobs touch the back of my throat, I wonder why. While I haven’t loved him since I was a child, I did love him then. So many pieces of the past sit static, unnoticed, until they fall away with a brittle snap. Someday, I will be someone’s snapped-off past.

Kenny Meyer: Rest in peace.

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