This morning I took a picture that seems much sadder than the ones that proceeded it. Since June I have regularly photographed my sunflowers. As I wrote about each photograph, I predicted the next part of the plant’s life. This morning’s photo will be one of the last ones I expect. Perhaps I’ll take another when every plant is down or when a cover of snow leaves one dead blossom sticking its head out .The sunflowers are just about done.With that thought in mind I reflect on other lives on the decline. Firstly this morning I mourn the death of my beloved Uncle Bernie. Tomorrow I will travel to Moncton and attend the celebration of his life. I will embrace my aunt Lois and my cousins Jan,Joy and Julie and reflect on Bernie’s life. He was the other half of a team I could always rely on. In their presence I have always felt special and loved. They have laughed and cried with me, they have celebrated and supported all my achievements. Their home on Milroth Ave. was like a second home to me but when they moved to People’s Park Tower and then Briarlea Nursing home that did not change. Coming into their presence wherever it has been was always coming home. My Uncle Bernie’s smile, his teasing and his loving embrace were always available. The last time I saw him he offered that freely.He also reminisced with my dad about hunting days together and voiced his desire for Dad to put him in the car and take him to the hunting camp. Sad decline that limits the body from doing what the mind and heart still desire. I see my own parents struggling with that reality. Yesterday my brother and sister in law picked Mom and Dad up and drove them here for our belated Thanksgiving dinner. Before we ate Ken drove them down to see Chapin and Bri’s new house construction. Chapin helped Mom up the stairs in the house he has labored to build for the last year. Hopefully when she returns from a winter in Florida she will again visit and they will have moved in. Her limited speech made her unable to say much but I know she felt pride in seeing the beautiful home her grandson has built. Decline and diminished ability. Change and loss. Beauty evolving and life coming to an end.