May. 5th, 2010

kirby1024: Kirbinator Icon (half-my face, half-terminator face) (Default)
Last night, my Dad gave me news that I was not really expecting - I was told that my Uncle Michael had been found in his apartment, close to death. He told me that they had revived him, and that he was in intensive care, but he had almost died several times that day, and it didn't look like he was going to wake up, even if they kept him alive. In short, Dad said, it wasn't looking good for him to survive for very much longer.

And this morning, my Mum called me up to let me know that Michael had died during the night.

Today I have been giving myself a day to actually try and process my feelings towards my Uncle Michael, since I know that if I don't do it soon, it's likely to cause problems down the track. I have this trick, that I'm so very good at dodging my mind that I can just not think about issues in my life. But I know that's unhealthy, and I want to talk about this. So, I write this, my tribute to my Uncle Michael and Me.

I've often called my Uncle Michael my "crazy uncle", and I use the term with all the affection in the world. He was a role model of sorts to me in my youth, an academic in academia, incredibly intelligent and well spoken. He was a parapsychologist, one of the few operating in Australia. For most of my memory of him, he was even getting paid as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Adelaide. When I was in high school and when I was in university, I would always keep track of his latest academic developments. In a way, I was something of a fan of his work, and every now and then, he would send me articles that he thought I might find interesting.

My memories of interactions with my uncle are mostly from when I was younger. Early in his career, my Uncle was a Latin scholar, and I recall when I was quite young, my Uncle would try and teach me bits of Latin. At the time, my love of languages had not quite evolved, and I never paid terribly much attention. That said, I still tried my hardest - he was my uncle, and I loved him dearly. I remember a lot of discussions with him on various topics, although my being younger typically meant I was the one learning from him.

Although he was an incredibly intelligent person, that came with it's own side-effects. My parents saw a lot of my uncle in me, including a not terribly brilliant set of social skills. I had a tendency of looking down my nose at people when I talked to people, and didn't realise as a kid that it showed as a sense of superiority. I'm glad for those warnings, I think my ability to interact with people is much better now.

I remember often talking to my friends about my uncle. What my uncle did was incredibly interesting, and was always something we could discuss. There was one conversation in Korner, between me and [livejournal.com profile] shemjaza, about how, if I'd been around in the 1920s, I'd so be a Pulp action character, with my famous Uncle into weird phenomena, me the linguist in training, and him being funded by the Bial Foundation, which sounded so very much like some shadowy organisation for good. I'd be swept away from my university lifestyle to accompany my uncle on daring adventures!

My feelings about my Uncle's death are... mixed, as you'd expect after just a day of being told. Above all, I miss him so. I haven't seen a great deal of him in the past couple of years, but the fact that he was around was always in my head. A relative that I had so much time and interaction with, someone who has been around my entire life is gone, and I think I'm still trying to adjust my view to that. I feel so terribly sad for him, and for my Grandpa and Grandma, who now have the task of burying their son, something which I can only imagine the pain and sorrow of. I worry about my uncles and my Dad, all of whom have lost a brother.

And I think of all the interactions that were yet to come, that I thought I had all the time in the world to go through. He had just recently joined Facebook, and I never got to see how he would use it. I wanted so badly for him to meet [personal profile] erinkyan, who also wanted to see him so very much. I wanted to see him one last time, although maybe that one is just because I feel robbed of an opportunity to say goodbye to him. Of all the things that I'm writing here, that's the feeling that makes me cry - the last time I said goodbye to him was two years ago. I'm such a different person now than I was two years ago, that I feel that he's lost the chance to see me as I am now. I think he would be proud, at the very least happy, to see the kind of person I have become, and I hate that I no longer have the opportunity to show him that.

Rest in Peace, Uncle Michael, You have lived a great life, with a family that loved you, so much, and you are missed, so very, very much.

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January 2011

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