Grief is a funny thing, not like a joke someone tells you that leads to a hearty chuckle, rather it’s an odd emotion that evokes a varied reaction in each and every person it touches. It’s unexpectedly can paralyze some, making it hard to move, to talk or to think, unless it’s about wishing you were the one who passed away instead of the person that did. Loss can make others feel numb, like they are in a fog or a haze and their thoughts are a muddled pile of gibberish.
Or, grief can make you feel the way it’s transformed me in the last 24 hours. It’s left me remarkably serene about my Uncle George’s passing. I know that his torment here on Earth is over and that’s a relief. I know that in the end he knew that he was loved for exactly who he was and not for the person we wished he could’ve been. I am also a person of faith so I believe he’s in a better place and that, if nothing else, allows me to sleep easier. However, I am peace because I have so many wonderfully entertaining stories about how he touched my life.
There’s the time he didn’t believe me when I said I only make one stop for every four hours of driving so he chose to drink a wine cooler when I made a pit stop coming from Virginia to New York. My brothers took a bathroom break because they were well aware of my rule but he did not. So, when we were eight hours into our trip, stuck in traffic near the George Washington Bridge, he had to beg me to pull over because he couldn’t hold it anymore.
At my father’s 50th birthday party, I had to banish him to a chair in the spare bedroom because he wouldn’t stop hitting on women at the party. As I iced a homemade carrot cake, I could hear him calling my name, asking to be allowed downstairs with everyone else and promising he’d be on his best behavior.
No mater how many times he was put out, my father always invited him back for the next party, barbeque or holiday.
Uncle George was a character. He was outrageous and audacious enough to be himself no matter what anyone else thought so his passing has also left me terribly curious. I began to wonder this morning if I have these two crucial personality traits. If I have the courage to be who I want to be and not the person others expect.
You know, I didn’t think his passing would bother me pass yesterday. That may sound a bit cold but I figured it wouldn’t since I never cried; I never flinched when my mother told me, and I just kept it moving. The problem was his lost has shaken me and made do what all deaths do; evaluate where I am in my life and wonder if mine were over tomorrow would I have any regrets.
Being chronically ill, I’ve frequently thought about my mortality and what impression I might leave. The only thing I promised myself when I found out I was sick was that I would try not to die with any regrets. The reality is I am not terminally ill. I take drugs every day to make sure I can function. I’ve had more procedures now than I care to count but I am alive and kicking. Still, his death made me ask myself if I had any regrets and the honest answer is, at the moment, I have a few. That’s probably no different than anyone else, it’s just as I mourn my uncle, and I can’t help but wonder how others will remember me.
I hope that it’s for my love of family, friends, and charity but I hope it’s also for my writing. Okay, that may sound self absorbed but it is my passion. It is the thing that consumes me. From the second I wake up in the morning, I am blessed with an idea; usually a thought that often spawns a phrase, a story, an article or a book. Putting words on paper is how I record my highs and low, work through my issues and communicate with the world and those I care for. Writing has helped me bring characters to life and tell inspiration tales. Yet, I wondered if any of the people who’ve read my books were touched by my work touched or if it even makes a difference.
I stood there blathering on about the blog entry and my uncle for a few minutes before the topic of the chatter turned to me. After nearly eight years of working together, I realized Diana knew very little about me personally; that I had manage to hide myself, who I really am, from someone I saw nearly everyday. I was disappointed until she encouraged me to continue to write, to pursue my passion. I briefly wondered if my “passion” is enough to sustain me, to define me, to allow me to leave my mark on the world. Then I realized, for me, that’s exactly how I do it. Through writing, I reveal who I am, what I am made of and why I am worth remembering.