My Uncle Keith died last night in New Zealand, and when I was getting ready to go to the gym this morning my mobile beeped and you just know that a 4.30am message is never going to be good news. The message was from my cousin asking if he should let my Dad know or did I want to do it.
Uncle Keith was my Dads younger brother and his only sibling. I was not going to let the news be broken to Dad by phone. I then had to wait till at least 7am for Mum and Dad to be up and awake, so I tried to go to the gym to pass the time but just could not get my head into that...
It wasn't that Uncle Keith and I were particularly close. When I was a child every Sunday was spent at my Grandparents house and Uncle Keith & his family were part of the gathering, but as us kids grew older and the Grandparents left us, we heard news of each other and touched base at major family gatherings like Mum and dads 60th anniversary last year, but not a lot else.
It also wasn't a huge surprise as Uncle Keith had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and in the last few months he has been suffering more and more advanced symptoms but we did think he would be here for a couple more months.
The Shit part was telling Dad.
My Dad is from the generation of "Men don't show emotion let alone cry!". So he has never cried in front of me, and today was the same. He took the news.... stoically, saddened and quiet. Quiet is not a good thing when it comes to Dad. Quiet is where he (and just like him - me) go when we don't want the world to touch us. Quiet is our haven. Dad was quiet.
Mum was messy as, of course, she had known Keith as long as she had known Dad.
When it was time for me to go, Mum and I left the room where Dad was, I then remembered I had one more thing I had to tell Dad...
Dad was quietly crying.
I hate the Tough Shit!