After my husband's and my father's,
there is yet another empty chair at the dinner table.
My mother was very touched by this gesture and somehow comforted by the news that her brother's last words had been for her. Although they hadn't seen each other for 2 or even 3 years, they were very close and exchanged letters and phone calls whenever they had the opportunity and my uncle was up to it.
Unfortunately, my mother couldn't attend the funeral, but she wrote a nice card to her sister-in-law and her godchild. One of the things that upset her was the fact that there are now only 12 people left in Belgium carrying the same family name. My mother has a very unusual name, which requires spelling whenever someone wants to write it down. I only have two male cousins. The youngest has two daughters, and so the family name stops there. The eldest has two sons, who somehow don't seem to be in a hurry to get married or start a family.
Although Belgian law on surnames has recently changed, giving mothers the right to pass on their surname on their children, most families stick to tradition which implies that babies take on their father's family name.