April 01, 2013

bubbling on

For months before my uncle Les died, we talked every Tuesday on the phone. While his heart and kidneys were failing him, his spirit, humor and warmth did not. He was fully at peace with his life and embraced his inevitable conclusion with dignity and contentment with a life well lived.

The moments we shared were priceless to me. He told me stories about the ornery escapades that hardly anyone else knew of his growing up as a kid in Georgia. Like that one about him leaving the house on a mission to buy ice cream, without enough cash in hand. A kind policeman noting his curious walking about trying to find the ice cream store, buying him ice cream and bringing him back home.

Then there was the afternoon we spent together when I drove up to Oregon. For nearly 4 hours, we went thru the pages of his life. Scrapbooks and photo albums. As each page turned, he'd giggle and tell me another story. Or I'd gasp at a piece of memorabilia and ask him to explain something. We walked, side by side on the couch, thru the decades of love he shared with his beloved wife Anne. I learned that every day, they would softly reassure each other, always in Russian, in their own sweet tenderness. When one would say I love you, the other would reply back, I love you more.

He left a gift of money for me in his will. I bought a beautiful water fountain that sits right outside my home office sliding door. It's bubbling right now. Just like the bubbling conversations he and I had.

The day my uncle died, I could not be there, miles away. But I knew he was at peace finding release from a world of pain his body had endured. He told a family member at his bedside to tell me that he loved me.

As my fountain bubbles tonight, I can hear it say, I love you more...