I'm back online. I'm moved, I'm somewhat unpacked. I should be telling you about a little holiday to the beach we went on, updating you on thrifty finds & whinging about things that need doing around here. I should be boasting about how Miss Punk is growing & learning, I should be telling you about things I'm looking forward to & all the interesting things I've discovered while I've been away from you.... but I can't.
Instead of all of that I am sitting here, trying to type through my tears, trying to write something that I don't want to write, something that I wish I didn't have to write.... but something I feel like I have to write, for myself - later, for Punky, for my Mum... for my Uncle Gary.
The Sunday before last I got a phone call from my Mum quite late, telling me that my Uncle had died. The circumstances were shocking, tragic, unexpected, frustrating, scary... the news left my family numb & unable to believe it. That is all I am going to write on his death - to steal a magnificent line from my cousin who delivered Gary's eulogy; "...let us remember the man & not the moment."
To me, my Uncle Gary was always so cool - he was funny in a boyish way that meant he was always up to some sort of mischief. He rode motor bikes. He ate thirds & fourths of pudding at Christmas. He was the master of the hand-held video camera. He was super tall - like the big friendly giant when I was little - & full of life.
Later on, he was the proud prison officer & doting father, spending time camping with his young son & playing around with any new technology he could get his hands on.
My fumbling words here could never convey to you the humour & vitality of him, could never do justice to his dynamic personality or the effect he had on those around him... but I wanted to write something...
Some great stories were shared about him at his funeral - they made people laugh just as much as he always had, and I liked that. I also liked that his 'Exit Song' (the song they play as the coffin is carried out...) was the original star trek theme. It was funny & fitting - it was like he was still there with us, joking around, even if it gave me some sort of ridiculous hope through my grief that he was, that this had all been some sort of elaborate trick... I wouldn't put it past him.
Something I keep thinking of lately, something that I think of as "...so Gary..." is a home video I saw years ago. Gary & another uncle were taping themselves heading through the Kentucky Fried Chicken drive through, they ordered & were heading to the pick up window. Before they got there, Gary pulled out a $5 note, smiled at the camera & licked both sides before getting ready to hand it to the unsuspecting cashier... "Mmmmm" he sighed "Kentucky money...!"
Hope they have fried chicken up there for you mate. We love you.