20 May 2009

Farewell, Uncle Toes

Uncle Tony - or 'Toes', as we used to call him when we were kids - died peacefully this morning.

Dotter and I were all ready to drive down today, to see him one last time, but we were too late.

He had a very rare form of leukaemia - a type which only a few people in the world have at any given time - and we always knew his prognosis was bad, although we hoped that maybe he'd be the one to kick the trend, and live longer than the typical 11 months after remission - and he was certainly working for that goal - but it was not to be. He was exactly average (but only in this regard).

In many ways it's a relief he's gone quickly - the disease was taking a cruel toll, and it's better that he didn't linger. But I did want to see him one last time.

Uncle Toes had a crazy larrikin sense of humour, always ready with bad puns, and much silliness. He also had a tremendous generosity and kindness of heart. He was always laughing, even in the face of terrible adversity.

He was our 'naughty uncle', the one who'd bring us cups of milky tea and Vegemite toast in bed (after we'd brushed our teeth!) when all us cousins complained we had the 'hungries and thirsties!". He developed the 'Tea Dance', a funny ritual that had to be performed whenever making tea in a pot (it involved turning the pot around a certain number of times, and doing a little dance) - which was often, as he loved a good cuppa!

When he turned 60, we gave him a small glass jar of marbles, with the label "Replacement Marbles - take one as needed" ... he kept it on his office shelf.

When he was in hospital for the sessions of aggressive chemotherapy, he would befriend everyone, from the doctors to the cleaning ladies. He was the first chemo patient they'd ever seen who set up an exercise bike in his tiny room, and exercised every day, for as long as he was able. He was that kind of guy, proactive, and always looking for the best in people, and situations.

I can't bear that he's gone - far far too young (a few days short of his 66th birthday). He leaves a huge hole in my heart.

ETA : his funeral will be in Albury this Tuesday 26 May.

24 comments:

  1. so sorry to hear this denise, he sounds like a real treasure. hugs xx

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  2. It's so sad to lose someone care for so much - and sad you didn't have the opportunity of a final visit. But it sounds as if he led a life that was valued - by himself and others.

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  3. I'm very sorry. My sympathies to you and your family.

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  4. What a wonderful eulogy. Your uncle sounds like he was a wonderful person; your kids have been so lucky to have known him. Hugs for you all.

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  5. It's so sad you didn't get to make that visit but what wonderful memories you and your children have.

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  6. I'm sorry. He sounded like a real gem.

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  7. Dearest Denise, So sad to hear about your lovely Uncle Tony, for he certainly has the most lovely face and smile so that everything you say about him can only be true. I love the tea making dance story and just want to steal it for myself. What a fabulous way to be remembered. Thinking of you. Loani

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  8. I'm so sorry Denise. He sounds like a lovely, lovely man. What a loss to the world.

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  9. Oh, I'm so sorry Denise. And I have experienced not quite getting there in time - not a great feeling.

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  10. What lovely memories. He lives in your heart.

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  11. He looks like a very nice man and from what you've written, I am sure Uncle "Toes" was a sweetheart. So sorry to hear of your loss. Deepest sympathy to you and your family ...

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  12. What a wonderful and loving tribute for a man who meant to much to you.

    Big hugs

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  13. What a gorgeous, funny bloke. So sorry. xo

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  14. You've had a rough year or so - I'm so sorry.

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  15. So sorry to hear about your uncle - wonderful people are always sadly missed - he sounds just wonderful!
    Hugs!
    xo

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  16. Your sharing him with us is a true testament to the man. What wonderful memories you have. I wonder if a few of my marbles made it into his jar. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  17. He sounds like a great guy.

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  18. He sounds like the kind of relative I want to be. The kind that my niece and nephew will remember fondly and with love.
    I'm so sorry for your loss. He sounds wonderful.

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  19. I'm really sorry to hear this Denise, he sounds like a great guy and he'll be missed. Hope you and your family are doing ok.

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  20. So sorry for your loss.

    Your description of your uncle brought him to life for me and did him great credit. A wonderful tribute.

    I hope that hole fills up with happy memories until it's bursting.

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  21. I'm so sorry for your loss. Sending hugs and warm thoughts your way!

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  22. Denise

    So sorry to hear of your uncle's passing. My thoughts are with you!

    Many Hugs

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  23. Denise, so sorry to hear about your uncle. He sounds like he was a lot of fun.

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  24. Oh, I'm so sorry. What a lovely post, though - a real testament to a someone who sounds like a wonderful man. What a terrible loss.

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