November 9, 2012 – “Shadows are falling and I’m running out of breath; keep me in your heart for a while.”
Those lyrics from Warren Zevon’s “Keep Me in Your Heart for a While”, a song both sad and beautiful, were written just before he passed away in 2003. I always thought it was interesting how used “for a while” instead of “forever”, as if possessed a keen awareness that it is perfectly normal to get on with our lives after losing a loved one. Still, it doesn’t mean we ever forget them.
We will bury my uncle today. He was uniquely special and much-loved by his wife, his children and grandchildren, his brothers and sister, and his many nieces and nephews. I wasn’t there when he passed early Sunday morning, but I’m comforted to know that those who were there sang to him the same songs we sing together at family gatherings. I can’t think of a better way to cross over. Music not only comforts us during the tough times, but it also helps us heal.
Whenever I think of Uncle Harry – sometimes referred to by the nicknames Hank or Biff – I picture him with a warm smile on his face that made you believe he was genuinely glad to see you and that you were special to him. He and Aunt Rita were married for over 50 years, and had a magical relationship that outwardly showed how much they loved each other.
I often tease my parents that we (my siblings and I) were raised at a cocktail party. That’s a positive thing because we grew up surrounded by a large and often crazy fun family. I will forever see Uncle Harry sitting in the same chair at my parent’s dining room table with Aunt Rita beside him, knowing that it wouldn’t be long before the singing would begin.
Rest in peace, Uncle Harry. It’s hard to believe you’re gone … but you’ll never be forgotten.
I hope the fish are biting up there.
“Life is eternal, love is immortal and death is only a horizon as we move into the light; and the horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.” – Carly Simon