Growing up, I had a decent sized family. It was far from big, but since my grandmother was 1 of 9 kids, there were lots of great aunts and uncles that I would visit during the summer when I was in Montreal.
An aunt and uncle I visited quite often were my Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Charlie. My grandmother and Phyllis were sisters, and although there was a sister in between them, they were the best of friends. They were so close in fact that they got married in a double ceremony in September of 1949. When my grandmother passed away, it was a shock and although my Aunt Phyllis comforted me, I could tell that my grandmothers’ passing affected her deeply.
She was the first of the fab four to go.
This morning, my Uncle Charlie died. He was a large, quiet man and truth be told, I probably didn’t know him all that well (Phyllis did the talking for both of them). In fact, the most distinct memory I have of him is not really even of him but of his false teeth scaring me as a child. However, when I heard today, it made me sad to think that part of my family shrinking like that.
Before I got married, my grandfather gave me pictures from their double ceremony. To see them so young and so happy and now to know that half of those people are no longer around, that their stories and laughter and futures have come and gone, makes everything feel strangely fleeting.
I will be heading out to Montreal for the funeral in a couple of days. The last time I was in Montreal for any significant period of time was Phyllis and Charlie’s 50th anniversary back in 1999. Before that, I was there for my grandmother’s funeral in January of 1991.
And the world gets smaller yet again . . .