I wanted to leave something of me too, but I didn't want to be an eternal tag along, so I finally just said a few words into the glasses case and shut the case. It seemed a very nice way of balancing my need for symbolism and his need for simplicity.
I showed up early Monday morning with his glasses-he was still on his cot in the room where he was waiting for his casket, so I sat outside in the lobby and drank some coffee. It was important to me to not be late for this final task.
I finally agreed not to go to the cemetery because Mom wouldn't agree to let me go alone and I didn't want her out in the below zero wind chill. So I delivered the glasses, made a final ID, and was the only family member who ever saw the casket or Uncle John in it. This last part was by design-he didn't want to be remembered as he was in the past few weeks.
I will work out how to incorporate what I saw in such a way as to express it without betraying his privacy or trust, but that is for another time. I've never so closely shared an extended illness or death before-and that experience is now a cherished part of me.
Sometimes I get a little scared or frustrated at how my life is changing yet again, but I would not, if I could, go back and change my decision to walk this walk with my Uncle. I think I am more of a human being than I have ever been because of the past few years.
I want to finish this post on a positive note because while the sadness is still with me, I know, beyond any doubt, the good outweighs the bad. Don't be afraid of old age or illness or death-the boogy man in our minds is so much bigger than the reality of it. The boogy man part is truly insignificant compared to the total experience, which follows the boogy man rule in general.
As I sit now, trying to decide on a new future, I am going to try and remember that boogy man rule.