My uncle Ken passed away on Sunday and his funeral was today. He died of complications due to Alzheimer's disease, one of the most undignified and cruel sicknesses I have ever encountered. I didn't mention it before because I was kind of at odds with myself on the way I felt about it. There is a part of me that doesn't really feel anything and that makes me feel rather small. To be frank, I didn't know him that well, and what I did know about him...well, was unpleasant. To be completely bald about it, he always seemed like a real bastard. I hope God will forgive me for thinking that, but it's true. That seems odd, because his wife, my aunt, and his kids were always some of my favorite relatives and I have always been close to them. It's strange to think that a man so closely related to them would be such a mystery to me. He wasn't a friendly man, but that could be chalked up to many things. Maybe he was shy or just a self contained kind of person. I found out today he was in the Korean war and was awarded the bronze star twice. He was also an engineer. It makes me wish I had made an effort to know him better. I choose to believe that I just didn't see the best part of him, which is the part that was the soldier, husband, and father. I am not the kind of person to give new and more flattering elements to a person just because they've passed away, but I want to think I was wrong about him. I also hate that he had to die the way he did. I know you don't have to like your family, heck, there are a lot of people in my family I don't like...but I also feel that there should be a respect there, even of the faintest kind. I feel bad that I never tried to find out the things about him that should have been respected.
He didn't have a funeral per se, but a grave side service only. I had never been to a military service before and I now know that if you want to get a chill on a 102 degree day, you can get it by hearing TAPS played and watching soldiers do the flag folding ceremony. He was buried at Maple Hill Cemetery, which is a beautiful and OLD cemetery not far from where I live. I like to go there and take pictures in the fall and spring. I can't help it. I hate funerals, but I love cemeteries (go figure), especially old ones and there are graves there that stretch back to early Alabama statehood. Big statues and really elaborate headstones. I have never had any problems finding my way around the place until today. While trying to find a way in, I completely passed the whole shebang once, almost ran down a fellow mourner, and somehow got lost and then stuck behind a backhoe, which caused me to have to back up into the grass. I'm not completely sure, but I think I drove over some dead folks while turning around. I apologized for doing it, but you never know how dead folks are going to feel about being driven over. I also realized, almost too late, that B.B King & Eric Clapton are not the most appropriate kind of music to be played loudly while driving through a cemetery to a funeral. Neither is Big & Rich. Luckily, "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" got turned down in time. : )
I also came to realize that I not only hate summer, but I also hate pantyhose and high heeled shoes. A combination of the three will almost put me in a frenzy of loathing. Now, however, I'm seated within the vortex of three fans and an air conditioning unit, so I think I'll make it this time. However, for future reference, I just think people should have the decency to die in the winter so as not to necessitate me having to deal with all three things at once.
That was a joke. Close your mouths. Gah.