|1969-Yuba River/Scotts Flat Lake, CA|
What is it with trying to be cool in the face of loss? Why was it that after hearing about my Uncle's death I just tried to shrug it off? Denial? News of his death certainly didn't feel real and especially not as I'm living thousands of miles away from home. I found myself nosing around Facebook looking, I guess, for confirmation that Kenny was indeed dead. I looked up a cousin's FB page on which she'd written news of our Uncle's death. That sealed it. He had died. I felt sick. Two days on and I still feel like crap.
Uncle Kenny was an intensely private person and I can't say I knew him very well. I know that he was a huge fan of the Porsche 914, I think it was, and had owned the same one for years before he replaced with the exact same model some time later. He loved to drive his car as if he were flying down the Autobahn. That's somewhat tricky to pull off on the mostly mild streets of California and yet he did so with zeal. I recall he took me for a spin once a few years back. We zoomed down the highway and, a bit freaked out, I was white-knuckling it all the way.
Uncle Kenny was kind, gentle, funny and warm. Above all he was a good person. His boss called him a 'shiny gem'. I love that description. He sent holiday gifts to not only his nieces and nephews, but to the offspring of those kids. He was the one who arranged our annual family picnics at Kirby Cove, just the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, bringing our rag-tag family together. As Uncle Buddy's partner, Lee, gave up on life last year at the age of 86 after suffering a couple of broken hips, it was Ken who drove into the city to visit regularly and made him protein-rich shakes as he'd stopped eating solid foods. Ken made sure to make Lee comfortable in his last months of life and was a good companion to him during that time.
Naively, I assumed I'd have more time to spend with Kenny. I figured he'd grow old. I counted on the fact that Mom would have more time with him, too.
Thank you, Uncle Kenny, for always treating me well. Thank you for the birthday cards, the friendly chats and scaring the crap out of me by driving faster than Hades is hot in that Porsche. You will be terribly missed.
|Uncle Ken's baby.|