Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A reminder of the brevity of life

Early this morning, I received word that an uncle had passed away. The news was expected as his health had been rapidly declining for several days, but even so, it's never easy to hear the news.

Just a little over a week ago, I'd had the opportunity to stop by and visit while on a recent vacation. I was shocked at how much he'd changed since the last time I'd seen him. We enjoyed a nice visit and talked about a mutual love of ours, painting.

All over his living room walls, Uncle Joe had displayed his artwork. There were acrylic paintings on handsaws as well as framed works of art. As I glanced around the room, I could see he took pride in his work but he also made a point to paint what was familiar to him. There were several of the paintings that caught my eye but in particular, the paintings of covered bridges. I mentioned this to him and we talked about some of our favorite bridges in and around Georgia.

He told me he wanted me to have one of his painted saws and explained I'd have to find one that didn't already have a family member's name on the back of it. Apparently, they'd all placed their mark on his works anticipating that one day, after he'd left this earth, they'd have the chance to claim their favorites.

I was unable to find a piece of his art that didn't already have someone's name etched on back. He saw the disappointment in my face and said he'd find one. In the meantime, he said, he wanted my cousin to bring me several of his blank saws. He knew I'd find pleasure in painting them. As my cousin brought the handsaws into the room and lay them beside me, Uncle Joe said, "I want one of your paintings, too." It made me happy that he'd want one of my pieces of art and I made a mental note to complete a piece specifically designed with him in mind.

Just two days ago, I'd completed the painting I was going to give Uncle Joe. I'd worked quickly after we'd returned from vacation in hopes of getting it sent off to my aunt so she could show him before he passed away. Now the completed painting lies in the middle of my dining room table. He'll never get to see it and that makes me extremely sad.
My acrylic pour painting mountain scene

On my cell phone, I have a saved voicemail Uncle Joe had left me. It was from a few weeks ago. I'd sent him a card in the mail telling him I was thinking about him and that I loved him. He responded by calling me and telling me the same. I'm so thankful I kept the message.

I listened to it just a few minutes ago and it made me cry. My uncle had called to check on me and ask how I was feeling when he knew very well his days were numbered.

Oh, the brevity of life! I'm reminded of it every day. Since my parents' deaths, and the recent deaths of several other friends and relatives, I can't help but remember the verse in the Bible that says we're just a vapor...here for a little while and then gone.

A saw I painted for Uncle Joe
The older I get, the faster the years fly. I don't like to admit it, but pretty soon, I'll be part of the oldest generation left in my family. I wonder if my children and their children realize how fast the time is going. Time grows ever precious with each passing day.

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