On Wednesday, my brother-in-law--Baroy's brother S--is moving to Boston. It is a huge loss for my children...and for Baroy and myself as well. This is the man to whom my kids are so close that they call him, simply, Uncle. (All the rest of their uncles require a name appended to the uncle, but not S. He is the Uncle above all uncles.) Through most of the kids' lives, he's seen them an average of two to three times a month, sometimes more. He's been here for pretty much every holiday, and certainly every birthday party. He was in the labor room when I was waiting to have Em; he stayed with Em when I was in the hospital having N. All of our friends know him; all of their kids do, too. And they all call him Uncle S, because he is pretty much everybody's uncle.
Add to that the fact that he's our only family within 3,000 miles...or, rather, he was our only family within 3,000 miles...and you've got an additional layer of sadness. Somehow, his leaving really brings home the reality that we are a continent apart from everyone to whom we are related by blood. (No, J, that doesn't mean we're moving back east...)
So, today, we went to Santa Monica, where Uncle has lived for 15 years, to have a last dinner with him. We walked the Promenade, we had dinner at Buca di Beppo, and we took a walk down to the beach.
As soon as Baroy snapped the photo to your left, we both knew it was going to be one of those shots. One of those shots that makes tears come to your eyes every time you look at it, that makes you think of sadness and endings. One of those shots that makes you hear the music from the end of Philadelphia, when they play that supposedly old video of the Tom Hanks character as a young child, and even though you know--damn it, you KNOW--that you are being manipulated, you still cry. Every single time. Or, at least, I do.
See you in June, Uncle. We'll miss you.