On Wednesday last week, we received the news that you had died. Any death in the family is hard to process, and it has been especially difficult coming to terms with your parting, for we had not seen or spoken to you in almost two years.
We were heartbroken, of course, that day when we parted ways; you would not leave England, your home for all your life, and we could not stay. Our son – you remember him, I’m sure – cried awful tears when we had to leave, and you should know he cried the same when we learned you were now gone. We never stopped caring.
You were always there; through the tough times, all the fights and the stresses and the endless moving houses, you were always there for us. It felt at the time that you often had little to say, but I realize now that you didn’t need to. You were wise, and trusted us to figure things out – to make it work. And you know what? We did. All these years later, and we’re still a family. You’d be proud of us.
I have so many fond memories of you; we all do. Your wit was second to none, and I recall seeing, in your youth, your agility that would put an acrobat to shame. You were beautiful, always, even as you grew older; I never told you, but I always thought your beard (yes, you had a beard!) was pretty darn cute. Even in spite of your solitary nature, in spite of your natural aloofness, you were always open to a hug and a cuddle, just when it was needed. So many times I was forlorn, and your company would pull me from the depths.
I have missed you over these past few years, and even though I knew I might not see you again, there was always a hope – and it is the loss of that hope that hurts more than anything. In your old age, I wanted to see you one last time, sat warm before the fire, dozing. I wanted to look into your eyes and learn from your wisdom, your intelligence born from a childhood on the streets.
And now, I will never get that chance. You will live forever in our memories, but we will have now only the photographs to remember you by. I would have you know, friend, that every moment with you was a joy, and we could not have asked for a better relative. You will be missed, and never replaced.
We love you.