03 February 2010

Farewell, Uncle Tim

Not the kind of news I like to post. . . .

“Ryan, Tim didn’t make it.”

That’s what my mother said over the phone when she called me at work this morning. It was hard to process that statement, “Tim didn’t make it,” even though I knew what it meant.

My Uncle Tim Perman was suddenly admitted to the hospital last night for an aortic aneurysm. My mother called me with the information late in the evening; he would need to go into surgery. I had only just seen my uncle on Sunday for my Great Uncle Lloyd’s retirement party in Thousand Oaks, so this abrupt turn in his health was shocking. Mom had no idea what his chances were for getting through it.

But, during the surgery, the aorta ruptured, and despite the best work of the surgeons . . .

“Ryan, Tim didn’t make it.”

Which means that Tim Perman, who has always been in my life, is dead.

This is a devastating loss for his immediate family, which consists of his wife Shari (my mother’s older sister), brothers Ken and Keith, his son Scott, his daughter Stacey, and his three grandchildren. For my mother and her two younger siblings, Eileen and Phil, Tim was someone who had been part of their lives since they were teenagers. My father was also quite close to Tim, since the two of them shared an intensely geeky interest in computing and could discuss technology for hours upon hours.

Tim was a cool guy; he was one of the first people I knew who was seriously involved in the computing world, and he taught a lot as a youngster about the developing machines. If anybody in the family needed tech advice, we asked Tim. He was also a huge fan of James Bond, and that helps make him extra cool.

I’m glad that he did not have to suffer greatly at the end, and that much of the family got to see him at the gathering for Lloyd’s retirement, even though we had no idea it would be the last chance we had to see him. Sometimes it’s better not having to say an official “goodbye,” despite the shock the grief causes you when death comes. Sometimes just having a last nice visit, without knowing it’s the last, is the gentlest way to let go of somebody.

We all will miss Tim, but especially his wife and his two children. The photo below was taken of the family in 1989. (Tim always had a beard as long as I knew him.)