“Bare til info. Onkel Ove er død her til morgen.”
This was the first line in a text message I got from my mother one Wednesday afternoon in January. In English, it reads: “Just for information. Uncle Ove has died this morning.” It was the message that my father’s uncle had passed away after a relatively short cancer illness. Ove was 81 years old and he has lived a great life with loads of friends and family. He got diagnosed with cancer in late November and shortly after was too sick to do anything. It went so fast. He was playing golf one Sunday; he did that a lot; and everything was fine. He was feeling great and had fun with his golfing friends. Less than one week later he was hospitalized and could barely do anything by himself. He was sent home shortly after though, as the doctors could do nothing to help him other than pain management. Yesterday, just under two months after his diagnosis, we were at his funeral.
I don’t think he was ever scared of what was happening. He was always joking about everything and he always said he would be happy to make it to his early seventies. As mentioned he made it to eighty-one. Although it is sad that he is dead we can only be happy that it went so fast. He didn’t deserve a long painful sickness so it was good that it was over quickly.
He wasn’t close family to me and I didn’t see him that often, so the lose didn’t affect me too much. To be honest I feel more of a general loss for the world that he is gone, more than a personal loss. He was such a party sparker every time we visited him or met him at birthday parties or family gatherings.
Anyways we went to the funeral (My parents, my sister and I) to pay our respects to Ove and his family. My father lost an uncle so I guess he was hit harder than I was. It was an ok service, but the priest fumbled with her papers a few times and couldn’t find the right order of all the stuff she had to say. It seemed unprofessional and sloppy; and not good enough at a funeral.
At the end of the service the coffin was carried out of the church to the hearse. Ove’s sons were carrying him out and saying their final goodbyes. The organ was playing “Om Lidt” a Danish song by folk musician, Kim Larsen. It hit me quite hard seeing Ove’s sons carrying him out. It got very real all of a sudden. What hit me harder was outside the church though. The coffin was in the hearse and people got roses to give to Ove when saying their goodbyes. At one point Ove’s granddaughter, I’m guessing she’s about eight or nine, went to give her rose and when she turned around I saw her face, just for a second. That was the hardest part about the whole service. That little girl, who I don’t even know. Because seeing her made me see Ove as more than just my father’s uncle. I knew he had an extended family but I never really thought about it until that moment, where I realized he has several siblings, children grandchildren and even some great-grandchildren. Realizing what they had all lost with his passing was harder than anything about that day. Ove dying out of my life I could handle, but there were so many more aspects to it all.
And now it’s all over. Only a few months after I learned he was sick. I didn’t see him while he was sick, and it was a closed coffin service, so I haven’t actually seen Ove in a long time. That makes it a bit unreal to think that I never will. However, I am also happy that I didn’t see him when he was sick. I still only remember him as a healthy, happy, old man, joking, drinking and frying his famous Danish meatballs.
May he rest in peace.