Mum just called to tell me that my Great Uncle Len has died. He was my mother’s uncle. I had intended to visit him on Saturday afternoon while we were in Sydney but I had a nap instead because I was so exhausted.
He never married. When we were little, he used to sit us on his knee and tell us stories about when he was a little girl. I have never quite been sure whether that was just a narrative trope for us as little girls or a secret way to explore something he wished he could have been brave enough to be. It was a different world then, and much harder to make those kinds of steps across gender divides if that is what that was about.
He was funny and kind and he was a war veteran. Rest in peace, Uncle Len. If we have a baby boy, we’ll give him your Hebrew name, Leib. Like mine (Rasha Elka), it’s Yiddish, not Hebrew, as it turns out, and it means lion. A brave lion indeed.