—Written by Madeline Snider, University of Ottawa
In 2017, I spent the summer with my aunt and uncle in Budapest, Hungary. In 2020, my uncle died.
After his sudden and shocking passing, I tried to remember the last time I had spoken to him, and the last time I saw him. He had texted me on my birthday in early 2020 and I had said thank you. In 2019, he was in the country and visited for a few days. I don’t recall either of those moments. I do remember September 1, 2017 when I left Hungary and returned home to Canada.
When I think back to moments I spent with my uncle, this was the moment I truly parted with him.
We were in the airport, waiting for my flight. I stood with my aunt and uncle outside of security, and my uncle insisted we take a selfie before I left. He took the picture of the three of us smiling, and went to post it on Facebook. I don’t remember my exact words, but I do remember making fun of him for posting it on Facebook sideways, and how it cut off most of his face. I remember hugging them, and holding back my tears as I left and walked through security.
I’ve seen him, and I’ve talked to him since 2017, and I barely remember any of it. But I do remember most of my summer with him, my aunt, and my cousins. I remember my uncle clapping five times to the FRIENDS theme no matter how many times I said it was four, I remember being the only two Canadians in the icebar (and being the only two who didn’t need a coat), and I could never forget his stupid hat.
In the months following my return to Canada, I kept in touch with my uncle quite a bit. When he passed, I went back through our messages together. For months we sent messages back and forth and in almost every message he told me I was welcome back to stay with them anytime. I’m sad I never got that chance.
My uncle died less than a year ago, and my family is still feeling the heaviness of his loss. Even though I wished I had talked to him more in the last few years, I know my last moment with him in Hungary was good. We smiled, and joked and said goodbye.
Thank you for taking the time to read my work, and I hope it inspires you to look at the good, and not regret the moments you didn’t spend with someone you love.