My uncle, Dr. Hobart Jones, passed away on January 8, 2015 at the age of 93.
You know, when you are a young girl and you have three uncles on your Dad's side and seven uncles on your Mom's side, you don't ever think a time will come when you have one uncle left.
That time for me is now. My only surviving uncle is my Uncle John, who married my Mom's sister Mary.
Of course, no death is ever easy to deal with, especially the passing of someone you love. Age and the wisdom and experience that comes with it helps you deal constructively with the grief and pain. But it was very hard to say goodbye to my Uncle. The good memories flooded my mind during the memorial service, and the words spoken by the officiating pastors confirmed and reaffirmed my recollections and soothed my aching heart.
My late Uncle was an animal science professor for almost 40 years at Purdue University. He received his degrees at Purdue, Ohio State, and Kentucky. He was a nationally recognized expert in swine management, and worked with producers and industry professionals, young and old, across the nation in the swine industry. The affection and admiration that people had for him was demonstrated in the overwhelmingly large number of people that made their way to a northwestern Indiana church on a windy January day to pay their respects to someone that helped to formatively guide their lives.
A good thing that comes from the passing of a loved one is the fact that you get to see many of your relatives and people who played a role in shaping your life. It is an interesting experience to see how time has treated them. Lots of gray hair now replaces the blonde, brown and red of younger years, and there are more than a few wrinkles on more than a few faces. But they are all to a person wonderful, and those people are yours, and it is a comforting feeling to catch up, to re-live, to begin where you had left off like no time had passed at all. It's a chance to revisit those no longer with us through their sons and daughters, nieces and nephews.
In a way, that was a wonderful last gift given to me by my Uncle--the chance to reconnect with the people who play roles in my history. The old adage that "nice guys finish last" was lovingly and firmly disproved on that day I said goodbye. There will be more passings, unfortunately, but that is the ultimate function of life and time. In the meantime, I fully intend to learn the lessons of maturity and share that knowledge at every opportunity I am given. I will grow my heart for the rest of my life.
You are home now, Uncle Hobart. Thank you.
If you are interested, you can view my Uncle's obituary here.