I started to write my Friday blog on Thursday and got stuck between life and death. Between maudlin and joyful. Here’s why.
On Thursday and Friday – through a wake and a funeral – our family said goodbye to Uncle Tony Sandrick, (Anthony L. Sandrick obituary) the last of six sons of Frank and Rosalee Sandrick formally of Reese Avenue, Whiting, IN. Several of us were with him at hospice the day before he made his transition on Monday, July 2. He was 89 and lived a long happy life and now joins Aunt Joyce and the rest of his family, including my folks.
While it is a sad time for his children – my cousins Linda, Tony and Tom – and for those of us who were close to him, many celebrate the fact he is in a better place. “Where he was meant to be.”
I’m too selfish to celebrate his passing. I’m not ready to let go.
The Sandrick Brothers of Whiting were a remarkable crew with sturdy wives and smart, handsome children – especially the men. But Uncle Tony’s death marks the end of an era. And I’m not ready to be in “the next chapter” of aunts and uncles. I want my aunts and uncles and there’s not one left in this world. Poor me.
The Sandricks are good, hardworking people. Happy, fun. We enjoyed some wonderful gatherings over many years – laughing, sharing food and drink, playing games, enjoying our bloodline connection. At birthdays, graduations, weddings, baptisms and in the last several years – funerals. (sigh)
At the funeral mass on Friday, I was sad watching Linda, Tony and Tom drape the pall over the casket. I was reminded of us five kids 6 years ago this November at St. John’s in Whiting – draping the cloth over my dad’s casket. I don’t know when I’ve felt more adult. But that wasn’t sad enough.
I was most saddened by the feeling I would not see my cousins again.
More funerals than weddings have brought us together in the past few years – aunts and uncles funerals – and there will be no more. It stands to reason our funerals, the cousins funerals are next but I’m not ready to go there. I’m relishing the past – the parties, the halupki, the glasses of port, shuffleboard in Uncle Ed’s or Uncle Tony’s downstairs rec rooms. I miss Uncle Benny’s laugh, although I think a few of my cousins have his sense of humor.
Of course we act, look, talk and joke like the six brothers. A bit of background.
Frank Sandrick and Rosalee Miklusak immigrated from eastern Slovakia in the early 1900s, although – not together. The met in Chicago when Gramma was working at The Palmer House Hotel.
Their six sons – John, Joe, Frank, Ed, Tony and Ben – were tall and handsome. Over the years, five of them married local girls – Irene, Gert, Marge, Joyce and Irene – and proceeded to produce a bevy of talented children.
We kids didn’t know Uncle John who was caught in the crossfire of a gangster shooting in Chicago. He recovered from his wounds but died of pneumonia the day before he was to be discharged. My cousin Ed reminded me on Friday that Grampa asked John not to go downtown that night.
There are so many wonderful stories to tell. But I’ll end it here.
To my subscribers and other reads, pardon my tardiness with a Friday post. Some people find death to be the perfect muse. Not me. I was wordless – which can be a blessing under some circumstances! Oh good, a lighthearted moment. Here’s what I want to remember.