Friday, September 12, 2008

holy *bleeping* moly!

Now, this is one of these times where you may not believe that I sensed this occurrence, but I did. I didn't know exactly what was happening, but when the emails bounced back from my uncle as undeliverable, I knew there was a deal brewing. I thought about calling, but then figured he'd email when he got his new address. Right church, wrong pew. He called me tonight, from LAX, getting ready to move to Europe! Yes, this is the same uncle I went to see in August because his health isn't the best. He decided that instead of waiting around to die, he was going to live his life. And what he really wants to do is live in the south of France, speaking the language until he thinks the language. (I remember Haikey telling me she started thinking in Spanish, even when she was speaking English, and that was a cool development.) He has no idea when he'll be back. No idea where he'll live, or how long it will take to get settled and reconnected to the world. He's in the air now.

It's like a movie script-- an indy one at that. Dying uncle, suddenly summarizes his life into 10 boxes, donates his furniture to consignment shops, sells his beloved car ("I'd have sold my child first, if I'd had a child"), and hops a plane to the unknown. I'm so impressed with his courage, so awed by his raging against the dying of the light. I have maybe spent 2 months with this man over my life span, but he has influenced me nonetheless. He always sent us Christmas presents and birthday money, and would write back to my dutifully sent thank-yous. He was this cool uncle living across the country who never had kids (I eventually learned why) but loved hearing from me anyway. He moved in with my grandparents and took care of them because he could, and someone should. He worked in the San Fransisco hospital that identified AIDS, worked as the volunteer coordinator for sexually abused kids (usually poor and Mexican) and adults with AIDS. He believes in being who he is without making a big deal about it. When my students talk about queers ruining their lives, I think of my uncle and try to help them realize they're people first, and what's it matter what they do in private. I have a lot of respect for my uncle, and this situation is no different. He's going out on his terms, speaking the language he wants to speak. I'm lucky to have had his influence on my life: instead of it being across the country, now it's across an ocean. We can do that.

I am so thankful I knew to go see him this August, even though I didn't know why. I hope I get to see him again... who knows, maybe next summer the family will take a trip overseas...

3 comments:

Weather Boy said...

When I say "Uncle Bob is something else", it is meant with the utmost affection and head-shaking respect.

hoyden said...

No one in this family tells me anything!

You know, I still have my magic wand. It made the move, which says something.

rach :) said...

Um, actually, I did tell you... maybe not with a phone call, but I knew you'd read the post.

I think I still have my NKOTB calendar he gave me in 1991... albeit not as cool as a wand...