Family Business

8 Jul 2009

camillia in the shadows

Yesterday I went to my uncle's funeral.
I didn't know him very well though I think when I was young we saw more of him and his family.
I do remember going to his son's 21st birthday party when I was 12 and I vaguely remember a wedding too.
Uncle Charlie was one of my mother's four brothers: Jim, Charlie, Jack and Bill.
The only brother I ever really felt close to was Uncle Jim, the eldest of the eight siblings.

All the Ponting brothers have passed on now but the four girls: Nancy, Jessie, Maisie and Connie are all fighting fit even though they are in their late seventies through to their early nineties.

So why go to the funeral of an uncle that I didn't really know when I normally do everything I can to avoid a funeral.
It was a chance to see where I fit in , you know.
To see some of my cousins who I haven't seen for decades and find out about their lives and children, to see what other people who share my family tree actually look like and if I felt any affinity with them.

sweet violet

It was so interesting.
If you can say you enjoyed a funeral then I will say I did.
The ceremony was a wonderful celebration of Uncle Charlie's life.
I had never realised he had such a genuine and happy smile, it was there beaming out of all the photos, back through the decades.
Like all his brothers ( and many of their grandchildren) he was also blessed with lovely smiling eyes that crinkle up and almost disappear when a smile takes over.

And isn't that the craziest thing, to see parts of your own face or your brother's or sister's or your children's faces reflected here and there in your relatives.

My mother has always told me that I am like my Auntie Jess but it wasn't until the last time I saw her, when she was close to eighty and me with my fully mature middle aged face that I did indeed see myself smiling out from her face.
I see my brother in my son Louis all the time, Andy shows me so much of myself and Kate is so like my Grannie.
That's where the crinkly eyes come from, my eyes, Kate's eyes, Grannie's eyes, the Ponting eyes.
We won't talk about the Ponting nose.

Charlie's grandchildren and great grandchildren who I had never met before obviously loved him very much and although he didn't live a big important life he seems to have lived a good and full life and that is probably more important.

Now if Ricky can just win the Ashes for him I'm sure he will rest easy.