I got a call from my mother this morning, about 8:30. My uncle, whom I was named after, passed away last night.
His name was Lacy, which is my middle name. It's a name which spans at least four generations now, as his uncle was named Lacy, and my daughter's middle name is also Lacy (though we spelled it Lacie for Camie... girlie style). She tells me she'll pass it on to her kids, too.
He was my father's brother. He was an elderly fellow, in his 90's, and in poor health, so the death, although tragic and always heartbreaking for those closest to him, was not completely unexpected, at least from my point of view; his children may feel differently. He was recently suffering a form of senior dementia or possibly early Alzheimer's.
I didn't know him very well, really. He lived most of my adult life in southern California, near his own children and their families, as is right. I did visit him and my aunt 2 years ago when I took my father on a trip to southern California. We stayed a couple of nights with them. They were always gracious, loving, and kind; members of that Greatest Generation for whom having someone to your home was an event to made special, even if it was just rag-tag family visiting. Even then, though, I could tell the hale, stout fellow I knew from my youth was deteriorating, as we all do, eventually.
I remember Lacy could sing. He had a wonderful baritone, from what I recall. When I visited last, he sent me home with all kinds of old sheet music. Things from the 40's and 50's, old gospel hymns, Frank Sinatra hits.... stuff of which I've barely scratched the surface.
I also remember him being a strong man. Physically powerful. My memories begin, at the very youngest, when he was already in his 50's, and I remember he always gave little me a great big bear hug whenever he visited. His arms felt like steel bands, and his voice boomed and filled the room. His laughter was boisterous and his smile wide. I always enjoyed his visits.
My heart goes out to his wife, their children and their families, my cousins, and my dad. My dad's now the last of his siblings left alive. All of his brothers and sisters are gone. I can't imagine that some day, one of my own siblings will be in that exact situation - the last of a generation.
Lacy, though, was a member of that Greatest Generation, which is fading quickly.
I encourage you, reader, to take the time to talk to those in your life that are meaningful to you. Do it now. Don't let petty fears and anger, or whatever the issue is, get in the way. As this, and the funerals of the Sheriff's Deputies last month demonstrate: you just never know when those you love will not be around to talk to anymore.