10 years. It can seem a lifetime and it can seem like just the other week. 10 years ago yesterday a part of my world changed. Like *that*. Like you always read, or hear of, or experience yourself. A single phone call on a very ordinary afternoon. I was sitting at my desk at work busily working away when my little sister called to tell me “Vic. He died. He’s dead.” And just like that. He was gone.
Vic was my Mum’s only older brother. He was the brother to 4 sisters. A husband to one. A Dad to 4 amazing kids and an Uncle to me and my many other cousins. I come from a close family and Vic, well he was as close to a Dad as you can get. I grew up on holidays with him, spent many a weekend at his house, almost every Christmas and special occasion by his side. He suffered from heart disease for most of his adult life and was later diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy which is the deterioration of the heart muscle which can lead to sudden cardiac death. He managed his condition for years through medications and bypasses and the like and while we knew that someday something could happen, it can never prepare you for when it does.
He was playing golf on this ordinary morning, teed off and hit a cracking ball, then dropped dead. Just. Like. That.
The next week was a blur of tears and time with family and drinking and funeral preparations and remembering just what a good man he was. And he was. So good. Kind. Generous. Hilarious. Tough. Skilled at what he did. A talented singer and guitar player. And harmonica player. Boy could he play one of those. A lover of golf. And food. And wine. Travel. Family. He taught me more about being a good person than my own father ever could. Or will do. He told me cut my Mum some slack. Be kind to her. He taught me to look inside myself and see all the good in there. That I was worth something. A lot in fact. That I shouldn’t settle for anything other than the best.
A few years after he died I broke off a long term relationship that shocked many people close to me at the time. We were meant to be getting married. We were meant to be doing lots of things but somehow I took a chance and shut it all down. Because it just wasn’t right. People often asked me how I did it. Is till don’t know. Even to this day. After that initial shock calmed down it was weeks later that the day I did it was the 23rd May, Vic’s anniversary. He never did like that guy.
Today I wanted to take some time out of my day (and yours) to stop and remember him. I think of him a lot. When I am around his family, of course, when I am with my own family. He is sadly missed and is still a gaping hole in all our family catch ups all these years later. I hope he knows just how much. I hope he knows how much he gave us all. In his own little ways. I can’t forget all he gave me. And I won’t ever forget that.
At his funeral we played this song as his body was walked out of the church. I haven’t heard it for many years until this morning when I went searching for it. It still has the same reaction as it did back them – has me a sobbing mess. You might remember it from the final ever scene of Northern Exposure. I loved that show.
I miss you Vic. You, and all you gave is not forgotten. Not by me anyway.