THINGS WASPS DO WHEN SOMEBODY DIES
Yesterday my beloved uncle Edward "Jack" Dunham died of multiple systems atrophy, caused by advanced Parkinson's disease. I will miss him more than I can say. Protestants are weird.
- •We haven't all gatheredMy father and Jack are brothers, just the two of them, and all their kids are really close. Yet we are here in our house and they are in theirs. When I try and suggest remedying this a lot of logistical concerns are raised.
- •There's no corn beefNone at all. My aunt Susan (she's from the Jew side) tried to send some but no one would respond with the address.
- •It's so quietLast night my immediate family (father, mother, sister and I) napped from 5-10 pm.
- •Let's return to the food thing.I was like "shouldn't we at least go over to uncle Jack's with a bunch of food?" My father said when we do go tomorrow we will pick up sandwiches from a place called Deja Brew. The exact same amount of sandwiches as there are people.
- •So when will we all see each other?"At a time that makes sense for everyone."
- •When my grandma died in 2000 uncle Jack asked my father if I could please cry less loudly because it was distracting him as he attempted to go through her mail.That being said, he sobbed like a baby at the funeral and we held hands. He just felt there was a time and a place for everything.
- •When my dad heard the news, he got off the phone and looked at me and said "over and out."Later he said "donezo" and "hasta la vista." He was wearing a knit hat and his painting shirt and he didn't want such a tight hug.
- •They took uncle Jack off life support at 10:30 am and he died peacefully at 2pm.We had been warned a patient can linger for days but, as my aunt Betsey said, "Jack was always efficient."
- •When uncle Jack was sick and essentially paralyzed I would visit every Sunday and he would always be impeccably dressed.Him: polo shirt, khakis, tasseled loafers. Me: sweatpants that say FUN across the butt and a Lil Wayne tank top. I loved the feeling of kissing my uncle all over his face, something he might not have let me do when he was fully mobile.
- •Uncle Jack banned Lamby from his home about a year ago.The email read something like this: "Dear Lena- we loved having you. Lamby, however, is another story. He peed on all three floors of our house plus directly on the couch which makes him, in my book, a bad guest. He's not welcome back. You are. Love, your uncle Jack."
- •The weirdest part of modern death is the final unreturned email.The one from me on Thursday, right before his cardiac arrest, that says "I'll be there on Tuesday by 1!" The one from him that I won't ever get that says "good."
- •This list has really lost its shape and drive.I wish you could hear the perfect lawyerly way he argued, or the approach he took to language when he was too tired to talk, biting little asides such as "that woman's a true fool." I just can't believe he's gone.