Uncle Jim RIP. At his funeral today. I dropped a note to my aunt, his wife of 68 years earlier.
Dearest Aunty Jenny,
I just wanted to write a brief note to you to express how very upset I was to hear that Uncle Jim had passed away this week.
My thoughts are with you. And please pass on my deepest sympathises to all the family.
Uncle Jim held a very special place in my heart for many reasons. His sense of humour - I can still hear his roaring laughter so clearly. His love of family - the get-togethers at Red Tiles when we were younger were some of the happiest days of my youth. And despite Uncle Jim's no-nonsense manner I could always see his softer side behind his twinkling eyes.
As I am sure you know, I was christened after him too. Jonathan Mark JAMES Green. What you may not know though is that "James" was always the favourite of my first names and as a child I even tried to persuade my family to start calling me that. They didn't bite though. The swines!
And Uncle Jim was my Godfather too, a role he and I talked about a couple of times. Most recently, two years ago at the last big the family get-together.
"Uncle Jim, you know are my Godfather."
"Yes, I know, boy" He smiled.
"Did we ever need to do anything about that? I mean, do godfathers and godsons need to actually do anything?"
"Do? No, I don't think so, boy. Don't you go telling your mother though"
"I won't Uncle Jim" We both smiled.
No nonsense. No fuss.
I know Uncle Jim had lots of nieces and nephews and at times our big family parties must have all seemed a bit overwhelming with all those kids running around - watching all those "Phillips smiles". But I always looked up to him at those events. He knew how to keep everything calm. How to keep order and yet still enjoy himself.
Whether we were all on the beach together on holiday in Mudeford, playing a game of Newmarket in Welwyn when Uncle Jim would place a £5 note on one of cards to get the children screaming with excitement, or simply watching you and him sharing a drink together and laughing together out loud. I will miss him.
He was a great man. And a great Uncle.
All my love,