A little more than two hours before this page was published my Uncle Jack passed away in Australia. And I cried!
Jack was my only Maternal Aunt's husband and if memory serves me correctly, was 85 years old. He spent his working life as a policeman in the Queensland Police force and was of great help to me when I joined the force all those years ago. From memory he retired as a Senior Sergeant.
I heard many stories over the years about Jack, some bad but mostly good and although some people considered him tough and hard, he was not a man I ever feared. For a tough cop it always made me laugh when he called young folk 'love' and 'darling' irrespective of their gender.
He took no nonsense from those he dealt with in his capacity as a law enforcer. I once recorded a little tale of his life in an article I wrote under the name John J Walsh. Jack and family were at church in Mr. Isa when the young constable booked all the illegally parked cars. Parishioners complained to Jack about how unfair it was and he held up his own ticket to show them that he sympathized.
Whatever he may have been behind closed doors, his wife Irene stayed by him throughout their 65 years of marriage and cared for him for the last couple of years as he suffered from ill health.
Having lost my parents already, I feel sad at what my Aunt and my cousins will now go through. Aunty Irene is now the last surviving member of her generation of my family both maternal and paternal, and the import of that is not lost on me.
When we are young we don't think much about death, because it is too far away, but as we get older, it is constantly on our minds. We find ourselves remembering too many people we have known that have already passed over.
Soon it will be time for my generation - the generation of siblings and cousins - to begin departing, not that a few haven't already. Jack's death brings home to me the fact that soon it will be time for my brother-in-law Sandy (Captain Sandy Stewart) to shake off his sick mortal coil.
There is not a lot a person can do to ease the suffering of family members when someone dies, but at least they can attend the funeral. Unfortunately for me, that is not a possibility and I regret that. I wish I could be there to share the tears, hugs and stories that will be told as the family gather together after the funeral to celebrate Jack's life.
I will miss you Jack and I am so grateful that we had a chance to say goodbye in July when I last saw you.
Rest in Peace Keith (Jack) Gill.