Sunday, January 02, 2011

Uncle Sonny

It’s been raining here on and off all day. Now 25 hours into the new year, I am given cause to reflect yet again – not about the past year or where my life is, but on the life of my Uncle Sonny, who passed away just hours ago. Henry Smith lived a long and exceedingly full life; many loved him and those who were fortunate enough to know him could only form lasting memories. He was, in many respects, larger than life – a true Southern gentleman. He seemed to know everyone and was always quick to offer support to those close to him. Due to the constriction in this period of my family tree, he was my only uncle. Married to my mother’s eldest sister for nearly 60 years, he has been a fixture in my family for my entire life. He will be deeply missed.

Henry Smith
I write this not to elicit sympathy, but to pay respect to a man I have the utmost respect for. Indeed, I am fortunate enough to have known him, if sympathy is called for, feel sorry for those who did not know him. I do regret that, due to the distance between New Orleans and Northern California, I did not spend as much time with him as I would have liked, but I am absolutely grateful that I did spend the time with him that I did. And the same goes for my children, all of whom formed a bond with him that transcended space and time. Our visits were the stuff of legend, due in no small part to his efforts.

Henry Smith has always persevered despite the challenges life has – and he has experienced more than his fair share. He always appeared to have a profound affinity for life and lived it with all the zeal humanly possible. Although his passing was sudden, it was known the end was near when he was diagnosed with liver cancer just a few days ago. He passed peacefully at home with his family by his side. The end was mercifully brief. I can only imagine the sorrow that my aunt and cousins are experiencing, but I know, too, that the memories he left are of some comfort. I am quite sure Uncle Sonny would not want us to wallow in sorrow, rather, he would want us to celebrate his life and in due time I am sure that will happen... and in grand style. But for now, it is time to reflect upon a man who no one could easily forget, a man who left an indelible impression on everyone he touched. Rest in peace Uncle Sonny.

1 comment:

Kathleen Jennette said...

Oohhh..I feel I missed meeting a great man too with your writing of him. Very sorry he passed so quickly, but you surely have wonderful memories that have moved your life into a direction of great purpose because of him. RIP Uncle will be missed by those that loved you dearly.