My Uncle Denis died yesterday. He was my Mum’s brother and was a larrikin of the highest order but without question had the kindest heart of anyone I have ever known. His love for animals and his care for stray dogs, cats, any creature without a home was legendary.
But he was broken. His marriage split up because of his alcoholism. He lost everything he ever had and was living in a caravan on my Aunt’s land in Donegal, Ireland. His two kids haven’t spoken to him for years. I spoke to him all the time because I could see how pure his heart was (and how great his sense of humour was) in spite of all the things covering it up like empty bottles of booze, an often belligerent attitude and three packets of cigarettes a day. Oh what we do to ourselves to cover up the holes in our lives….
Uncle Denis died a particularly horrible death, unfortunately. Throat cancer that ended up eating into his jaw. He had to have his whole tongue removed and be fed intravenously. It was horrendous.
Yet he maintained his sense of humour – wry and black as it was.
I’ll miss him a lot. I’ve been searching all day for photos of him but can’t find where I’ve put them so I’ll include this one instead that I saw on Facebook. It made me cry a bit but it’s probably something most of us who have lost someone wish for.
What a year it’s been. I’ll miss you my dearest Uncle Denis. I know now that you are no longer suffering and are at peace up in heaven with all your stray cats and dogs. I love you.