No one may read this. That is fine. I am writing for therapeutic reasons. Today I was informed that a loved one of mine has passed away. Doctors were about to put him into emergency surgeory when his body gave out. He was young, I think in his 50’s. He leaves behind a wife, children, grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews (one of which, is me).
He is not my blood uncle. He is the husband of my aunt. He came into my aunt’s life after she had been through a long and difficult phase of her life. I will be honest. We were never super close. But I often spent the night at their house to play with my cousins. He was there at all the family events: summer picnics, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, and birthday parties. His son, my cousin, is only a year or two younger than me and there were periods of time when we would spend a good amount of time together.
I’m not overly sentimental. Life has done a good job, as it has for many, of kicking the shit out of me. But after I hung up the phone that brought me the sad message I went to the arms of my wife and cried. Partly for me, but mostly for my aunt and cousin. I felt a loss, as a member of the family. It made me think of how closely tied all of our lives are. If we are all family- brothers and sisters- then we are all connected by the deep bond of our common humanity, our shared experiences, our commong desires, and ultimately by the frailty and trascience of life on this planet. Over the years I have been geographically far away from family. I’ve been absent from most family gathering over the past 11 years. But I feel a loss. There is something gone that will never be replaced. And that makes me sad.
In addition, I recently had a rather painful misunderstanding with my aunt and cousin so i don’t know where I stand with them. I’m not sure if my presence at this time would be beneficial or harmful. I’m waiting to see how things unfold from here. My aunt’s heart is broken. A significant part of her life is gone. This all reminds me of how important it is for us to love one another. It can be such a cliche, and usually can be difficult to do. But it’s so necessary and so lasting and so bonding. When we love one another we invite the hope that there is something deeper than our momentary sojourn on planet earth. When we love we experience a different kind of kingdom; a new world. One that we need far more often, and, if we could be so lucky, permanently.
If you pray then please pray for my aunt, my cousin, and our family. But above all love the ones you are close to tonight. Whether blood family, or not. We are brothers and sisters. I’m not asking for utopia. I’m just asking that we, that I, would give love a shot a little more often. Right now the nation rages over gun control debates. I wish both sides would make sure that their cup is full of love before the sun sets tonight. Well, thanks for listening.