Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to say, even when you write to pay the bills like I do. Yes, the guy who refuses to use monosyllabic words is at a loss.
My uncle, one of the three most decent, upright and honest men I have ever known, is going to pass away. Chances are, as you read this, he may have already passed — and that makes me sad. And sad is the best word I can come up with which seems so empty and far from the emotion involved. Maybe it’s because of my father I can’t seem to find a better way to put it.
Jim, my uncle — and I am working from speculation and observation here — was and is my father’s hero. I have never heard him say these words, but first off he is my father’s oldest brother, the one who showed the way for all of his siblings in this world.
Secondly, whenever my father has spoken of Jim, it has always been with this look, or glint, in his eye, and you can see how much he loves his brother. I just don’t know that he has ever shared with Jim how he feels, and as my uncle sits in hospice waiting for what is the only possible outcome, it’s too late.
My father’s family, when he and his siblings were growing up in Pelzer, were never overly affectionate. They didn’t hug one another often and I really don’t know that I have ever heard any of them say “I love you” to one another.
This is the polar opposite of who I am and it’s hard for me to grasp how it’s possible, but then again, I wasn’t born in the 1930’s, the son of two people trying to raise a family during and following The Great Depression. So I’m not judging — not them at least.
Maybe myself for being incapable of understanding and accepting this is the root of my inability to get through to my father and share some of the things I need to say as he just is not comfortable with that type of interaction.
And now, as I watch all of this unfold, I have a strong fear I will never be able to tell my father what he meant to me or truly make amends for being a difficult son, bent on being stubborn and right.
I’m sad because my father, just like my uncle, has Parkinson’s. I have watched as his ability to do even the smallest things that used to give him peace and enjoyment has slipped from his fingers — literally.
As a child, like most boys or girls, I was convinced he was invincible. There has never been a situation I have never seen him unable to handle. He just got it done, but now that’s all changed and even the most mundane activity is out of his reach.
I am witnessing the future — mine, his, my mother’s and my sisters’ where my father is concerned — and it is not pleasant. It’s hard and sad — there’s that one word again, so small.
And for those of you who have said you would love to have the sort of precognition to see the future, don’t fool yourself. It’s not winning lottery numbers you’ll see, so be happy wishes don’t always come true.
My heart aches — and I am sad. But no one seems to notice, which is probably my fault. I don’t open up to people very often. The vulnerability is just too much for me at times and, well, makes me feel vulnerable.
Fact of the matter is these columns are the only forum that I find allows me to be as open and free with my life as I am. It’s probably because of the semi-anonymity afforded by not doing this face to face. Maybe there’s a lesson in there for me somewhere.
All I can tell you is, I find a certain comfort when one of you sends me an email or even calls my office to share with me your thoughts on some of the things I write, and how it helped you see things differently. It doesn’t happen every day, but it happens often enough to help inspire me to be even more open with you because maybe it does help.
Or maybe that’s just me fooling myself and it’s nothing more than cheap psychotherapy, which today is just not working.
I usually have a decent picture of what I should do in any given situation, but not today and most likely not tomorrow, and possibly a string of days to follow. In reality, there isn’t a great deal to be done. My uncle was a great man and always will be, just like my dad.
I wish there were more I could do to show that to you, but I’m just sad and a little lost.
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.