As I prepare to travel to my uncle’s funeral in Pennsylvania, I’ve been thinking about all the fond memories I have of him. He’d been suffering from cancer the last couple years and I was pretty good about writing to him and dropping everything (even U2 tickets) to make sure I saw him when he was in southern California. I didn’t call enough and that’s something I can’t change now, though I hope I’ll remember when I have another sick relative or friend and take the time.
I know my uncle knows I loved him and thanks to the Olympics and my aunt who was visiting him, I talked to my uncle recently. While watching one of the hockey games on TV, my aunt and uncle needed a hockey term defined for them. Naturally, they called me on my cell phone. I was in a bar (Score on Davie) in Vancouver watching the US women’s hockey team destroy Sweden in their semifinal game. My aunt tells me that any time they were watching hockey they were always looking for me and my uncle was really impressed and happy that I picked up the phone to talk to them even though I was in Vancouver for the Olympics. I’ll forever be happy that my aunt and uncle didn’t know what the announcers meant when they talked about a hat trick. Though NBC should have explained hockey terms during the Olympics, since many viewers of the Olympics are not people who regularly follow the individual sports, I’m actually glad that NBC was typically unaware of their audience. It allowed me a chance to talk to my uncle one last time. We never know what our last interaction with a loved one will be. I was lucky that the Olympics brought me a very recent memory of my uncle. Thank you Aunt Tricia, the Olympics, and NBC for bringing me my last memory of Uncle Hubert. I will always remember the last time we talked.
Every mass my uncle said (to my knowledge), he ended with a traditional Irish Blessing. I think it’s only fitting that I do the same…
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.