Last night my uncle died.
I keep reading and re-reading the message. I think if I can find a way to re-interpret it, then it will change the reality. If I can get the words to mean something else, then reality will bend and my uncle will be alive again.
I think when family members die, people tend to want to know how close they were. I never know the answer. Closeness is not objective.
Did I call my uncle daily? No. Did he raise me? No. Did I even see him every year? No.
Does that mean he didn’t matter to me or that his death doesn’t hurt? Of course not.
I wrote about this just a few days ago, but my family is very close. On my mom’s side there were four siblings: my uncle, my two aunts, and my mom. In many ways, I always saw the four of them as archetypes for my three siblings and me. My older brother Jay is so similar to my Uncle John it is sometimes uncanny. They look alike, they have a similar sense of humor, they are both stubborn, charismatic, driven.
And that was the constellation: my mom, aunts and uncle, and from that central system all my cousins and me and the rest of the family spreading out to form the firmament. Now it’s like a part of the night sky has collapsed, and I don’t know what to do.
I am so grateful for all the time I had with my uncle. I wish I had been more aware of it in the moment. I hope he knew I loved him. I hope he knew how loved he was.