I’m watching the boys in the backyard as they sniff along the fence line. Johnny Rose marked six-months-old yesterday. Ben is a protective bugger at age 3.
It’s Thanksgiving Eve. I’ve shut down work for the day.
The sun floods my office, and I should be out in it. Instead, I find myself scanning my uncle’s Facebook page for pictures and a sign. Any sign.
On Saturday, November 20, he passed away. Unexpectedly.
I was on the Peloton when mom called. “I’ll call you back.” I texted.
“NO” she replied.
I got off the bike. Took off my shoes. Went to the kitchen and sat on a step stool and stared into the emptiness.
I did that thing we all do: quickly recall the last time we spoke. The last interaction. The unknown last that will linger. The unknown last was picking up meds – a quick run over to the house in the middle of a workday – a true sin in my Type-A soul.
Who knew it would have been the last?
Stan and my aunt were together a little over 18 years – I know this because when they met Fran became Amma to Riley, which is Stan’s last name. It’s how I’ve marked their lives together. “I have a granddaughter Riley,” I recall Fran saying.
This isn’t mean to be an obituary. There will be greater writers to bring to light Stan’s life. And I put forth no illusion of a greater relationship than what we had. Fate blessed me with the opportunity to spend more time with him recently. Thank you, Fate.
We should all be so lucky. We should all be so blessed.
In these quiet moments after work and before errands, I find my eyes drifting to the yard, my heart drifting to sadness, and my mind drifting back to the question “What does it mean?” What is what? What is it? What is meaning?
My body is still as these question storm around me.
I’m naive to think answers will come.
Life promises no predictability; only death. If grief is the price of love, death is the price of life.
We are fools to think we have any of it figured out. We are fools to not seek the answers.
My uncle Stan enjoyed talking politics and current events, cooking hearty meals in the Instapot, and listening to stories. But beyond that, he loved his family and especially his grandchildren.
And perhaps that’s the answer.
Talk about what fills your mind.
Do what fills your soul.
Love who fills your life.
As the holiday season comes rushing toward us, I wish for you peace. I wish for you love.
But mostly I’ll wish this time won’t be our “last” time.