My Uncle Leon died last night. Sister called me just now to let me know. She and mom will be traveling Up State on Sunday to pay their respects. I would send flowers but I'm not sure to whom I would send them. Probably my mom, probably Uncle Kirk.
Uncle Leon was my mother's oldest brother. She and Kirk are twins, and I'm not sure which one is older of the two. Leon was in a nursing home, and has been for a while--he wasn't that old. Under sixty, I'm sure. Pneumonia.
I never spent much time with him; he was often off the radar, no phone line, or on a drinking binge, or I don't know what. Mom and I would drive to his house (he had a mechanic's garage out back, and he made money sometimes fixing trucks) and hope that he would be there. Sometimes he was, and he'd invite us in for coffee, or show us his pigs and ducks in the garden. Sometimes he wasn't, and we'd knock on the kitchen door, and wait, and look around, and go back to Aunt Amy's house. For a while he was married, and I remember pictures of his wife and her children, but I'm not sure if I'd ever met them.
I wonder if the disconnect I feel from my mother's side of the family is entirely my fault, as in it results from a defect in my personality and behavior that I'm not aware of. It is a strange unbridgeable gap. Because here I am, and I love them, and think about them, but know nothing about them really aside from births and deaths. I'm not even sure of all of their names, or ages, or how many cousins I have (although, to be fair, nobody is sure how many cousins there are). And also, they are half of my gene pool. I was visiting my mother's side of the family for the first time in five years when my father died.
I'm not sure how to end this. I'm going to call mom in a little while.
Rest in Peace, Uncle Leon.