In the past week, I’ve flown to Brisbane and back twice.
My Uncle Frank got very sick. My sister, my cousin and I are his closest relatives, and we all live interstate. Thankfully we were able to go and see him.
He passed away on Sunday morning. It was peaceful in the end, but it was still a shock.
You may have noticed I've been pretty quiet this week.— Daniel Bowen (@danielbowen) June 21, 2019
It's because my uncle passed away.
He was 86, and lived in Brisbane. His nephews and niece were his closest family.
Sharp until the end, and always full of good humour.
RIP Uncle Frank 1933-2019 pic.twitter.com/Sy1bFKBWHi
After helping to organise things, I flew home, then back for the funeral, which was on Friday: a service at the Funeral Director’s chapel.
After the service was a burial in the family plot at Lutwyche Cemetery, then we had a meal at a nearby restaurant to chat with relatives, neighbours and friends, to reminisce. It was good.
To the end, Frank was sharp and loved to chat. In the past few years I’d ring him up and he’d love to talk about politics, family, and especially family history, which he knew I was interested in.
And transport sometimes came up as a topic, interwoven into our conversations.
He told me he’d done national service in 1951. He used to go to army training on the tram… carrying his rifle… with a bayonet. He reckoned you probably couldn’t do it nowadays!
Uncle Ken passed away in 1996. Dad in 2010. Frank was the last of that generation in that part of my family.
Sometimes when you’re living a long way away from your relatives as you grow up, you can end up a little unaware of some of the things that make you the person you are. Chats on the phone with Frank helped to fill some of those gaps for me.
RIP Uncle Frank, 1933-2019. Sadly missed.