Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: goodbye, Uncle T

goodbye, Uncle T


Yesterday, my cousin A phoned to let us know that her father, my uncle on my mother's side, passed away. He'd turned 84 only a week earlier, so T lived a long life. A good man, T was my favourite uncle, only partly because he was fairly constant in my life especially in my childhood, unlike others whom I saw rarely because of distance. Led by my father, his best friend, he was one of several family members who emigrated together from Finland to Canada, so many years ago. We're so grateful that we were able to see him and Aunt K. at the end of September.

Though his passing came sooner than one is ever ready for, it wasn't totally unexpected. I feel a deep sense of loss, while memories of many many happy times flash by like a flickering old home movie, even disturbing my sleep. The grief is compounded by triggered recollections of past losses of our parents and other loved ones. I suppose it's also a realization of one's own aging and mortality. Nothing new, ever present in us all, but emerging from the recesses of our minds at times like this.

I also felt very odd when I realized that I had posted this entry two or three hours before Uncle T. left this world.

Hyvästit, rakas eno!

Marja-Leena | 28/11/2007 | 23 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Current Events


I'm sorry, Marja-Leena. Saying goodbye is always hard, even after long full lives. I'm glad you loved him and very sure he knew it; how good that you saw each other recently. Sending love.

As my 81 year old uncle, whom I love, currently has a life-threatening illness, I feel a particular resonance with your loss.

Beth, thank you for the comforting words of sympathy and love!

Tall Girl, I know how you feel - bon courage!

Lucy, much appreciated!

Sorry to hear about your Uncle T.

So sorry Marja-leena. It is so hard as we get older to watch our elders depart. They leave gaping holes we must fill ... but with what? This is the letting go we all must face and it is uncomfortable to say the least. I hope the coming days will be filled with happy memories of your uncle.

I am very sorry your beloved uncle died, Marja-Leena. This must be a sad time for you.

The photo of your blooming cactus looks beautiful. I have one with pink flowers, but it has not started to bloom. No buds even to be seen. I hope they will come soon. On the other hand I recollect that they bloom only every second year. So this might be the year they take a pause.

Kuoleman äärellä on aina vaikeaa löytää oikeita sanoja. Vaikka kukaan meistä ei voi tietää, mitä rajan takana tapahtuu, on eräs aforismi, joka ikään kuin piirtää tulevaa. Pidän siitä kovin ja toivon sen antavan sinullekin lohtua: Kuolema ei ole piste elämälle vaan pilkku.

Cathy, thank you.

Joan, yes, there's a hole when the elders leave us. I've been feeling a shift in the generations, as we become the elders soon.

Olivia, thank you for the sympathy. I've been very happy with my Christmas cacti this year, this white one is almost finished and the red one is now in full bloom.

Viides rooli - kiitos kauniista sanoista. Aforismi on hyvä, luulen että ymmärrän. Vaikka olisin arvellut piste ja pilkku on sama. Voisitko kääntää englanniksi?

Since you asked me to translate my message in english, I´ll try to do it.

It is always difficult to find the right words when facing death. Nobody knows what awaits us after we have crossed the line, but there is this one aforism that gives us a hopeful hint. I like it a lot and I hope it will comfort you, too: Death is not the full stop for life, but the comma.

Every loss diminishes us and brings us closer to our own mortality. I wish you happy memories and peaceful thoughts...

Peter, thank you.

Viides rooli, thank you very much for translating. That's what I thought, but my dictionary was not helpful on 'piste' and 'pilkku'. I love it and must remember it!

Mouse, merci!

Sending love to you and all your family, and glad you have good memories.

I believe that a family lives but a half life until it has sent its forerunners into the heavenly world, until those who linger here can cross the river, and fold transfigured a glorius form in the embrace of an endless life. Rest well Uncle T - rest well Marja-Leena!

Jean, thank you so much!

Roger, such beautiful words! Thank you.

Sorry to hear about this, Marja-Leena. Wishing you strength.

Dave, I appreciate your kind words! I think if I get a good night's sleep now, I'll feel much better.

Marja-Leena, I'm sorry for your loss. So much harder to lose someone close, and all it brings up. I hope you got some sleep and are feeling better. Take good care of yourself.

Leslee, thanks for the kind words. You've only recently had a major loss yourself. And yes, I slept better last night though I'm still tired, but taking it easy.

I read this yesterday and felt such a stab of pain that I turned away without comment; Mouse has summed it up very exactly. I send you my affectionate sympathy.

Dearest Anna, I understand that feeling! Thank you for the affection and the sympathy.