Late last week my Uncle Ted died after a long struggle with cancer.
Ted wasn't really my uncle. He and his wife, Peg, were close friends of my parents. My sister and I called them 'Aunty' and 'Uncle' because when we were kids they were like family.
Every Christmas for many years, Ted, Peg and their three daughters and Mum, Dad and my sister and I would trek to some far-flung destination for the school holidays. Each year the two families left Sydney on Boxing Day, towing the two caravans north, south or to some godforsaken caravan park in the desert somewhere.
I can still remember sitting on the side of the road, just out of Hay in western NSW, in the stinking heat after one of the cars broke down. I remember how Ted accidentally swallowed a fly and commented on how good it tasted, as if he ate them every day. Big booming Ted always had a twinkle in his eye.
And now Ted is gone. I hadn't seen him for three years, about the time the cancer struck. Possibly my sadness is selfish because it makes me worry about my own parents. Also, my holiday memories are now tied to this loss and tinged with a sense of wistful longing to have everything right in my own little world.
Mon coeur est triste. Goodbye Uncle Ted.