Just

‘Just’ a man would be the biggest lie.
‘Just’ a father, a son, a brother, a husband.
‘Just’ a goddamn pain in the ass.
‘Just’ the loudest laugh in the room.
‘Just’ the most aggressive finger-pointer.
‘Just’ the best air guitarist in the family.
‘Just’ a dog lover.
‘Just’ an uncle.

This was a man
Who would laugh so hard he ran out of air.

This was a man
Who loved with his full being.

This was a man who was not afraid
Of pissing people off
or fireworks blowing up in his face.

This was a man who was not
supposed
to
go.

This was a man.
And somehow, some cruel slice of fate,
His loudness, his squat, strong, permanent, stubborn, energetic
SELF
Is gone.

And yet, his loud, squat, strong, permanent, stubborn, energetic
Sons and brothers and sisters and grandchildren
Ensure that he will never really, truly be gone.

The world is just a little quieter now.
‘Just’ less that one laugh.

 

In September, my uncle passed away after a short and terrifying fight with cancer. I was lucky to go home and see him one last time, and be at his wake.

This was written shortly after, and read aloud at Christmas lunch, as we took a moment to remember him and acknowledge his absence at our family table.

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