My dear uncle – the other ‘King’

I’ve been reminded today of how hard it is to lose someone you love.  I lost my wonderful, funny, larger than life uncle.

I was out in my car and receieved a text from my brother in Australia – it said our uncle had died half an hour earlier.

There I was, sitting alone in my car, on a country road in the middle of nowhere, reading a simple, clear message that suddenly altered a part of my life forever .

I felt so far away from home.  And I still do.  I can’t be with my family and the people I love over there – and give my Mum and Dad and my brothers a hug and say how much I love them.  I wasn’t able to tell my Uncle that either.  I can’t cry and laugh about him with my cousins.  I can’t go to his funeral and be there for my dad, his big brother.

It sucks being so far from home sometimes.  You try to get on with your life, you accept the distance (even though it’s still hard), you enjoy where you are and try to make the most of each day and then wham, something like this happens.

Thank you Uncle Leigh for everything we shared:  the loud LOUD music, your cooking, the laughs, your humour, letting me stay up late, fish and chips at the beach for our lunch breaks when I was your chauffeur; and of course Elvis – watching re-runs of nearly every live Elvis performance on video together, paying me to edit the commercials out for your recordings of Elvis tv midday movies, telling me the King was possibly still alive; you saying your tongue-in-cheek ‘bonjours’ to me over the phone from Australia, telling Dad to stop pissing with him when he didn’t understand my new married name really was ‘Dunno’ after I’d eloped; the widened eyes in mock horror at cheeky jokes, letting me house-sit for you and Marilyn all those times (my girlfriends and I thank you), showing me amazing jazz performances on the tele until all hours, re-enacting for me the first swimming scene from Jaws in our pool (you playing that woman) over and over again with me watching and squealing with excitement, when I was still ‘too young’ to watch the actual film; coming home late at night to see you lying on the couch at Mum and Dad’s watching a movie with them (you always got the best seat in the house); and not to ever forget, Uncle Leigh, your enthusiasm and positivity – your happiness at being alive.  You were always so much fun to be around and we all, your many nieces and nephews (you were the youngest of 10), knew how much you loved us all – as we do you.

Thanks for everything Uncle Leigh.  I am going to miss you so much.

Elvis from the 1968 Comeback Special
Elvis in the 1968 Comeback Special – one of Uncle Leigh’s favourites

22 thoughts on “My dear uncle – the other ‘King’

  • Oh Kat …. I am so sorry to hear of the death of your Uncle and the unbearable loss that you must now be feeling.

    My heart and big hugs are being sent to you.

    “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal”.

    Thinking of you gorgeous girl … xoxo

  • Dearest Kat, What a beautiful letter. It helped me see what an great influence Leigh was on your life: humour,food, love of film and music, sense of family… So infact he was right, The King lives on and he lives in rural France! I feel your anxiety of being so far away and would so love to give you a great big hug.

    love to Pete and Jan, Mark and Scott

    Min xxx

  • I have just been around at Jan and Pete’s, they were having a few laughs with Brian and Bluey.
    They were going through old photographs and recalling stories that Pete could include in his eulogy. As you can imagine most were hilarious and the laughter seemed to be helping.
    Leigh was a really nice bloke and great fun to be around. Pete told of his last days in hospital unable to speak he had fashioned a card with useful phrases for the nurses such as “Thankyou” , ” Thirsty” etc. Pete went to place the card on the side table as Leigh went to sleep and as he turned it over noticed another phrase written on the back.
    “I am very comfortable and happy as a pig in shit thankyou”
    Thinking of you Kat you were both lucky to have each other, he thought the world of you.


  • Hey Kat, weird as it might seem, don’t forget the wonders of modern technology. My friend attended her Granddad’s funeral in South Africa through whatsapp. My niece attended her sister-in-laws wedding via Skype. It won’t be perfect but you can at least take part.

    It sounds like he was a great guy…our thoughts are with you and all your family.

    (10 siblings…didn’t they have a telly?)

  • Dearest Miss Kat,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your wonderful uncle’s death. I know how you feel missy being so far away. It was really touching to read your discription of the life you had together. He sounds like he was worthy of having you as a neice! I can’t wait to get back and give you a big hug in person but know that I’m sending one virtually.

    I have done far fewer crazy things with my favorite uncle but I’ll give him an extra squeeze next week when I see him and be thankful – I’m glad you posted to remind me to be thankful. Yer the best and I missya.

  • Trines, so sad to hear the news. Leigh was such a funny man, such a Livesey!
    Shall always remember those sumptuous lounges, mad Elvis conversations, late nights…
    Thinking of you and all your family – in no time you’ll be there too.
    Sending love

  • Dear “Katie Jane”
    A truly beautiful tribute to one of the “Good guys”.
    Leigh was always a really caring bloke and fun to be around, a lot of people will miss him almost as much as you.
    Love and hugs. Auntie Paul XX

  • You paint a beautiful picture Kat of what must have been a beautiful man – it’ll be a wonderful piece to be read out when everyone says goodbye to him tomorrow, and you, in your way, will have been there too to say your own goodbye. Remember him as he was when you last saw him and cherish that – it’s what he would have wanted.

    It sounds like you were lucky to have had such a lovely uncle, but remember that he was also lucky to have had such a wonderful niece.

    All my love to you xxxxx

  • Dear Kat, I almost feel like an intruder, but I wanted to let you know that my thoughts are with you! What a wonderful uncle you’ve lost, but you have wonderful memories and they’ll always be with you.

    • Thanks a lot for your kind message A. I know, it must be strange having read that post, but I really wanted to reach out in some way and share what I was feeling.
      It sounds like you’ve just experienced a loss too. My thoughts are with you too.

      Take care xo

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