Life is funny, but so often not in the "ha ha," kind of way. We learned that my uncle in Thailand passed away this morning. You know those moments when you are so completely shocked that it sucks the wind right out of you? This was one of those moments because it was so unexpected.
When I think of my trips to Thailand, while so few and short, I cannot separate the time from memories of Jaloon. We could barely communicate, and yet I felt such a tie to him. I am so thankful for the memories I will always have of him...
- Memories of my visit and his going out and buying breakfast each morning before I woke up. He'd hang it on a nail (yes a nail) outside my door so that when this wimpy girl sleeping in the one room with AC woke up, she'd have breakfast.
- Memories of riding an elephant with him through the jungles up near Chiang Mai.
- Memories of playing under a waterfall in Chiang Mai.
- Memories of his driving his 1979 pickup all over the countryside just to make sure we weren't "bored" and we were able to go out and see Thailand as well as memories of sitting in the back of that pickup with firsthand access to the unique sites and smells of Thailand. Things are different there.
- Memories of riding on the back of his motorcycle under the blazing Thai sun and the wind whipping through my hair while he showed me the village and the local sites. We stopped at the local swimming pond so he could buy "a coke for the American girl."
- Memories of him taking me into town for the local Songkran festivities and ensuring that every time I turned around I had another drink or food, even if I already had something in my hand.
- Memories of his pride in showing the landscaping he'd done on the family property, waterfalls and ponds and flowering trees everywhere and all done without books or the internet. He had a natural eye.
- Memories of his generosity and how everyone in the village spoke of his willingness to help anyone and everyone.
And of course memories of his pride when he showed me his art studio and paintings. He loved American icons like Harley Davidson, the Old West, CCR and Levis and capturing those in his paintings. He sold paintings individually but dreamed his whole life of his first large scale commission. He'd just received it a few weeks ago and was working on it. Way to go uncle on your success! My heart aches at the irony of it.
You are dearly missed.