I just learned my Great Uncle (Big grandfather in indian way) aka Choka Don passed away today. Apparently he had been in the hospital for the last month — and I just learned of this today! Of course I am a little upset, I would have visited if I could, or at least sent a card. I really liked him. He was such a fine, upstanding man, a pillar of the ho-chunk community, a very well respected elder. I had a really long talk with him at my Aunt Diana’s funeral two years ago and … well…no words of mine can describe him accurately enough.

My father is devastated. Which is why he didn’t talk about it. He likes to pretend things aren’t happening and when they do he shuts down and just gets depressed. Choka Don would have told him to get over it and to do what’s right. The last five-six years have not been that great for him — the loss of his Mom, his two sisters and now his last Uncle.

I don’t know how we are going to do this funeral. There will be a feast and things will be done traditionally, I am sure — but will it happen in BRF area or Minneapolis? If it’s BRF I can at least try to make the actual funeral — though I am not sure on the protocol of bringing a baby. I guess we could get a sitter or have Barb watch her…I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s even possible. I just know I wish I could have let him know how much he had meant to me while he was still alive.

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