I got a call at work this morning, from my Uncle Charlie‘s case worker in Tampa. It seems that my great-uncle passed away earlier this month.
Charlie had no wife or children, and was living in a nursing home with no family nearby. He had lived with his mother, my Granny, until her death in 1990. His younger sister, my Memaw, died over two years ago. Myself, my mother, my aunt and my cousin are his only living relatives.
Uncle Charlie sold his land years ago, and the profits have paid for his care since then. He hadn’t banked on needing to pay a nursing home for his care; he’d planned to give his $40,000 (or thereabouts) to me instead. As a poor college student, I had been flabbergasted at the prospect of being in someone’s will. Now, though, I understand the funds needed to support the elderly, and I certainly don’t begrudge him his care.
As the only relative who has kept in contact with Charlie’s legal guardians in Tampa, it is now my duty to call the Medical Examiner in Tampa and give them the authorization to cremate him. He had no funds left for a burial; and neither myself, nor my Mom, nor my aunt will be able to travel to Florida to make any sort of burial arrangements.
I’m sad that he’s gone, but I’m more sad that he was alone, and now has so few to mourn him. I’m also slightly beside myself at the bizarre and slightly morbid call I’ll need to make tomorrow morning.