On November 30th, a well-known author in the small town of Salida, Colorado passed away. His name was Kent Haruf, famous for well-known books such as Benediction, Plainsong, and The Tie that Binds. You may not know him but I did because I was one of his nephews.
Growing up, I never had a father, so uncles and grandfathers were more father than he was. I loved him like a father, not because of money or anything like that, because he was there for me. He was there for me like any father would be for their child. Several years ago, I lost my grandfather to both a stroke and diabetes. When he died, Kent was there for me if I needed that shoulder to cry on, to talk to, anything because he was there for me.
A few years ago, he developed a virus in his small intestine. Right there, I was afraid to let him go, I would never have the chance to see him again. He recovered from it, but he was so frail, I wish I could help him but couldn't.
I got to see him one last time last summer. What he did is he took me up the mountain where you can get a large view of everything in Salida. The last day before I left to go back to Iowa, he took me to a diner because I told him I wanted to be a writer just like him. I forget what he said to me, but I told him what I wanted to do and he said I might have something worthy of a novel.
I was making breakfest when I got the phone call from my grandmother saying he passed away. She told me a story about Kent and his wife's last conversation. He looked at her and said he was ready to go. She said to go ahead, and that's what he did. He went back to bed and closed his eyes for the last time, and died peacefully in his sleep. I knew he wasn't going to last long, but I wasn't ready to let him go.
I'm having a tough time trying to write all this and keep myself from crying. Everyone grives in their own way, but the connection he and I had...I've tried to hard to cry when I got the phone call, but nothing.
I hope somewhere in Heaven, he's free and happy, going about with no pain and being company with my grandfather.
His funeral was held Sunday, just a few days ago. I wished I was there to say what I wanted to say, but I knew I was there in spirit. I'll miss him so much.
Rest in Peace, Kent Haruf (1943-2014).
Uncle, Husband, Father, Friend