Hey, you! 😔
I didn't think I would be back in the countryside so soon but here I am today. I said goodbye to a man I've called my uncle for all of my life even though we didn't share any DNA.
Our bond was beyond blood. He was actually my half-sister's uncle by blood, but he never made me feel like an outsider. Every summer since I was a child, I would come over to his house and ask for an afternoon snack. First, it was at Mémé's house (his mother) and then it was at his. And if that wasn't enough, I would go to Mamie Annie's house too (his sister-in-law). They've always been so generous with me and then years later, they would also spoil S as well, even more than I was! In fact, the day he passed away, S was at the beautician getting her brows done with the money he gave her for her birthday.
When my dad passed away (click here for the post), we moved next door to him and his wife, Lulu. Those were some of the best years of my life in France. I would go to him to hear stories of my dad and him when they were younger. My dad didn't like me knowing how careless and crazy he was back then. Haha. My uncle had happy tears in his eyes when he told me of the time my dad was driving on the highway and they were on their way to Paris. My dad's car was basically a junk and there were no wipers, except that it was raining cats and dogs that day. So he drove and from time to time would stick his arm out to wipe the windshield himself or ask my scared-to-the-bones uncle to do it. Oh gosh. Or there was also the time when my dad sneaked him into his workplace thinking that no one would be there, except it was full of workers and managers that day, so he had him pretending to be repairing one of the military planes my dad was working on. What a crazy guy I swear! But we always had a laugh with the stories. Indeed, we shared so many fun moments during those years we lived next door.
The both of them were so different, but somehow they caressed my cheek the same way to either comfort me or show me they were proud. Who's gonna do that now? He was always smiling, willing to listen, never in a bad mood, and you can be sure he always had a joke in hand. I knew that just by seeing him, I would automatically be in a better mood. Even when he was frustrated with something in his garden or his computer, he had a way of saying things in a positive way.
I know that his life has been very different since he lost the love of his life last year (they were married 58 years!), but I thought we would have more Christmases and birthdays together. Check out the cake the Husband made for their 50th anniversary. They were so amazed by it and didn't want to eat it. Hehe.
Losing Lulu last year was really hard. They loved each other so much. Seeing him so sad and breaking down in tears broke my heart more than once. I don't think I'll ever be able to get those images out of my head. I remember asking him once why they didn't have any children. I always thought that they would have made such great parents. He answered that one of them had a medical problem, however they had decided together not to know who it was. This was their way of preserving their relationship and protecting each other and I thought that was the sweetest thing ever.
When Lulu passed away, she made him promise to continue living life, to go out, accept invitations from people and he did. It was always such a joy having him over because he loved eating and wasn't stingy with compliments! I'll never forget the confirmation of S (click here for the post). He was so happy to attend the mass and even happier to know that it was the Archbishop of Metz who was officiating. But he was the happiest when he walked over to the Archbishop himself and shook his hand and talked for a few minutes. He went home and told everyone of his adventure that day. He recently reminded S of that day and told her that that was a special day and things like that only happen once in a lifetime. I knew that he was happy, but I don't think I realize how happy he was and in turn that brings much comfort to my aching heart.
When my sister called me last Saturday, I knew I had to go to the countryside. First to be with her because it isn't easy for her. After Lulu passed away last year, our uncle ate every lunch with her and we were hoping that he would move in with her soon. He kept saying that he was fine for now and we didn't push the topic.
Everything was already planned for his funeral. My Uncle and Lulu made sure to get what they wanted on writing. He wanted to be cremated before being buried next to her at the cemetery. After his death, his body was at the funeral home then we had a mass for him.
On our way to the church from the funeral home, we were in the car behind him and we wondered why they were turning right on a street. Turns out that he had added in his funeral plans one last stop at his home before church.
As we followed him for his last ride to church, I was reminded of the life lessons I learned from him. Family is everything and our strength is our loyalty to one another.
Adieu Tonton. I love you. 🤍🤍