Last week my Uncle Keith passed away. He was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in April. A lifetime smoker, he didn’t notice the issues with breathing. It was the inability to speak and issues with forming thoughts that sent him into the hospital during COVID. He was without family or friends when he was told that he had a brain tumor – one that had metastasized from his lungs. He underwent radiation – it shrank the tumor, his ability to speak came back.
But the lung cancer was not going anywhere – it was more just a matter of keeping it at bay while also giving him the best quality of life. Three weeks ago he was hospitalized – an intestinal issue that arose from the cancer treatment. He underwent emergency surgery – and while he gained consciousness immediately after, he physically was unable to recuperate.
It’s hard to imagine him gone. His funeral was last week – small, intimate, and deeply personal. This pandemic has robbed us of so much – my own goodbye, the inability for loved ones far and wide to see him, talk to him, to sit with him – one man’s life that mirrors the stories of so many thousands and thousands more – a bottling up grief in ways we will all feel leaking out for years to come.
Uncle Keith was a Ford mechanic for pretty much his whole life. There isn’t a car in my family he didn’t work on for us over the years. He also loved to talk – about anything and everything. You would drop off your car or pick it up to be there for at least an hour. He never passed up an opportunity to give me grief for living in California. He laughed easy and loved.
Grins, well hellllo dear
How’s the left coast treatin’ ya
Oil stained hands hold mine