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My thoughts on the passing of my uncle, March 2004
         I suppose there was never a more appropriate day for a funeral than the day we drove to Florence to bury my Uncle. The sky was full of gray clouds and the possibility of rain seemed imminent. The warm weather had disappeared and all that was left was a chill that cut to the bone.
         His life at its end mimicked the way he lived.
         “It was the drink that did it,” my aunt would say in a tone that made her feel in charge of what was going on. “The doctor told him if he wanted to live he had to give up the beer and liquor. But he didn’t listen.” After which her eyes would mist up and then the strong, confident woman would reappear. “He wanted to die, I think. He was just tired of living, tired of being alone after his wife died.”
         I knew that she was referring to the last wife he had. She killed herself by overdosing on drugs. It almost killed him then, and we knew it was only a matter of time; a matter of time before he drunk himself into a stupor, or worse, to death.
         And it was death that came to him.
         I wonder in the last days if he dwelled on what would become of him. Of what lay just ahead of death, his eternity, and where exactly that would be. And if anything, did he think of those he would leave behind?
         A sister who would miss him dearly.
         Brothers who would wonder, if and when it would be their time to go next.
         I secretly overheard the whispers of mom and my aunt as they discussed the old wives tale.
         "It always comes in threes," my aunt says to my mom, "How's Ray's health been?"
         I am momentarily in shock as they discuss whether it will be my dad or my uncle who passes away next. I wonder why they would be discussing such a depressing topic at this moment, but then I know my grandmother has been very sick.
         As if she was reading my mind, my mom answers my aunt with, "Well, you know my mom's been sick. I don't look for her to make it much longer. She seems to be having more and more bad episodes."
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