This morning we got the news, my Uncle Nelson had passed away, it was expected, he had a battle with cancer, I am not sure of the details as time,distance and life has meant that I have not seen much of Nelson and his wife Mary. Aunty Mary is one of my mums sisters, one of 14 so over the tears we have had our share of death over the years, and no doubt we shall see some more. As I was reflecting on Nelson’s life today there was one outstanding memory I have. I must have been 11 as Nelson and Mary didn’t have children at the time. My mum informed me I was going camping with them. An unusual occurrence for me and a real treat. I can remember a few details vividly. We stayed just out of Thames in an old school tent, I can’t recall the car they had at the time,a Holden or Vauxhall seems to come to mind. I remember the cotton sleeping bags, the crowded camp ground and pipis (a shell fish) cooking in a pot. I think Nelson was a keen fisherman.
I would see Nelson and Mary at family celebrations (and funerals) family orientated and from what I see they were good parents, two fine children. I know that we often tend to lionise the dead and I am sure that Nelson had his challenges as well as his strengths but I can only talk about what I saw. What I saw was a man with a ready smile, he was always kind and interested in my life when we caught up. He was a pretty ordinary kind of a guy, no airs and graces that I ever saw, these things are not unusual in the people I know. The one thing that impressed me above all else was the very simple strong faith that he shared with his wife.
We talked about it at one family gathering and he said that he knew he wasn’t perfect, he had his problems but he was in his words forgiven and lived in the grace of God. Now I don’t know what your spiritual beliefs are, and in reality it matters little, what I saw with Nelson was genuine, no pretence about who he was or wasn’t, just a simple message about the love of God. I admired him for it, particularly his honesty about who he was. Others no doubt will have many stories to tell about Nelson, I just wanted to acknowledge the input and impact he made on my life, one of many who have done so but I am grateful for it. The fishing trip was important to me as was the last in depth conversation I had with him. I hope to be there for the celebration of his life.
To Aunty Mary, Daniel, Leslie and family much love in your time of loss, even when you are prepared for it, loss hits hard. To Nelson, rest well, I will remember you.
Now I have an update, Got my ears boxed by Aunty Mary ( figuratively) I didn’t call her Aunty Mary all through the blog post, well writing conventions and voice apart, no disrespect meant, arohamai, Arohanui ki te Whanau. Na naku noa