This past Saturday my family laid to rest my 95 year old Uncle Paul.
He was my grandmothers twin and sadly she predeceased him at age 76.
Last time I saw him, he looked EXACTLY like he looks in this picture! Always with a smile and the grip and hug of a man in his 30’s. He got around amazingly and didn’t shy away from getting to where he needed to go. He enjoyed lawn work. His mind was sharp.
Due to distance/timing to the funeral services, I did not attend. The last time I spoke to my uncle was when I called him in August for his birthday which I tried to do annually. More than just about him it was a great way to honor my grandmother who I loved beyond words! He was upbeat and alert during that call. Just as he was the last time I saw him in person. Which is the reason for this post. Uncle Paul was spry practically until the end. I remember calling home one time while he was there on a visit, perhaps last year, and while speaking to my mother I asked to speak to uncle Paul but he was climbing a ladder to replace a light bulb! We all just shook our heads and laughed. Uncle Paul had his last child at age 70 and everyone thought she would never get to know her father because surely he would be gone before she could have any significant memories. He stayed with that “baby” for 25 years and she has a certification in funeral services and was lead arranger for his funeral I hear. I saw pictures of her smiling and posing with family. I saw peace and pride on her face.
Sure their was grief and sobering moments such as after the flag was handed to his youngest son in honor of his service in WWII.
But the photos I received also showed smiles and good times by all in attendance. It was good to see extended family through photos and I was warmed by seeing how much everyone was enjoying each other and all the descendants of Uncle Paul, some of whom I have never even met!
I said to my mother, now THIS is why everyone should try to live as long as possible, so that when they pass, although their will be mourning and missing for someone who has been in most of our lives ALL of our lives, There can also be celebration, knowing that this person has lived a long fruitful life and that’s the most anyone can ask and at that, hearts are willing to let go and release with that much more ease.
I really thought Uncle Paul would see 100 and that was my biggest disappointment! He was the oldest person our family has seen and he was an inspiration for his constant activity and strength. Although, he didn’t hit that 100 mark the way I had hoped, he lived in a way that inspired us all and lived LONG ENOUGH, that we can be at peace in granting him Eternal rest. For at his age, to do anything less would be plain selfish.
Here’s to striving to finish the race OLD and SPRY and here’s to my Uncle Paul, whom I thank for the inspiration and wish a peaceful journey.
Light, Love and Long Life,