My uncle Peers is nearing death.
Peers was born with a double portion of zest. His liquid brown eyes were searching always for the next big delight. He reveled in people, laughter, martinis and love.
His lust for life was both blessing and bane, I suspect.
His younger brother John was born with Cerebral Palsy. Peers was coach, goad and heart for John through their growing up and into adulthood. As John grappled with mobility issues, Peers was by his side in ways tender and fierce. My mother’s voice lowers to the tone used when speaking of holy things when she talks about the love John and Peers have lived all their lives. It is wonder, this love.
Peers made his way in life guided by his heart and his passion for people. His passions took him to places sometimes difficult for his kin. His convictions were seemingly unshakeable and his belief that hard work and determination would win the day seemingly endless.
And his laugh; his laugh danced in his eyes and travelled with him as he wove life.
He was a man acquainted with sorrow and the soul need of joy.
Peers has been about a gradual leaving. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a number of years ago. His sons have been seeing to his care with the kind of beauty that stretches the heart.
A number of years ago Peers came home to say goodbye to his sister Carolyn. He needed to make a plane hop between Denver and Duluth. One of his sons called and asked if I could meet Peers in order to be sure he made it from one plane to the next.
Of course I could.
When Peers walked off the plane, his whole body lit up with welcome for me. I was wrapped in his arms and heard ringing out from him the self-deprecating laughter that marked his being in the world. We had time to drink coffee and swap stories and as he walked onto the plane to Duluth, I knew myself to be blessed. I didn’t know that I would have a chance to spend time with him in such a way ever again.
Oh, life and love are precious things.
May the huge wander of your spirit find delight, my uncle.