It feels like I’ve hit that place in life where I only come to my blog with sad news and I guess tonight is no different although surreal.

I had logged on to Find A Grave to update a couple of family connections. Although I have long used the site to supplement what I knew about family history, it’s only been in the past year that I started adding content and connections when I had time. I have, as many people know, long enjoyed family history. I was updating a couple of things when I noticed that someone had left a comment on the listing for my uncle’s grave that his son had ‘joined him in the hereafter.’ I thought at first there was some confusion and they intended it for my grandfather’s grave. They share the same name. Since my uncle has been dead for 40 years, I’m not sure why I thought that, but it seemed more sensible than my cousin was dead and no one one had told us…

But I found his obituary and that is precisely what has happened. I’m just utterly dumbstruck… I found out he was gone completely by chance a month and a half later… I can’t believe we didn’t know…

My Father, Me, and Chuck - 1976

Childhood – My Father, Me, and Chuck

When I was little, the two of us were close. My mom was very close to her family. Her brother and his wife and son lived in Albany and my grandmother was in a nursing home there. Just about every weekend of my early years was spent in Albany visiting them. After my uncle and grandmother both died, the visits became more and more infrequent and we all faded from each other’s lives. It didn’t happen all at once of course, but over time we visited less and less.

This past summer Mom talked to Chuck one afternoon. It was the first time she’d heard from her youngest nephew in a few years. They caught up on the phone and I mentioned a couple of times afterward that she should call and ask him to meet us in Albany for lunch sometime soon. I wish I had pushed harder for that because the chance is gone.

And that is what is so sad about this discovery. It’s the loss of a part of my childhood and the chance to ever reconnect with him. You always think there’s a tomorrow to catch up with old friends and family that have faded from your daily life. Sometimes it comes crashing in on you that the chance is lost.

In a little over a week it will be two years since we lost my father. I miss him every day but I’m glad that I don’t have that feeling of having been absent from his life. After grad school and my time living in Atlanta, I had come home. I had no idea my father’s last years were upon us but I was here and am thankful for the time we had. But finding out Chuck was gone was like losing another fragment of my past. I had no siblings and Chuck was the only one who spent a month one summer in the same room with me growing up (while his parents were away). I wish we had not grown so distant that I could be absolutely unaware he was gone for a month and a half…

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