Monday, January 25, 2016

Death, Presence

My uncle passed away shortly after the New Year. Since being diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma three years ago, it's been an intense journey.

As of late, I've spent a lot of time at my aunt's home, going through old photos and listening to stories about their life together. I feel really lucky to be able to be here with her at this time: to be able to sit and listen to the stories on Tuesday and then, once again, on Wednesday, when we find the same photo in a new place. I say this with absolute sincerity.

So much of my life has been spent living far away from my family. Deaths in my family, up until now, have been largely a fly-in, see everyone, fly-out process. I'm not entirely sure how that sounds. Cold? Harsh? Like there hasn't been a lot of death? Enviable? My world as a child, and for many years thereafter, was strongly colored by always living far away from extended family. Familial relationships were not really about being present in the everyday, ordinary world. Familial relationships were more like a status for a special event. In many regards, I've really missed the informality of the ordinary and everyday. Even though this has been a sad period of time (and for all of us) I really appreciate being able to be present and the intimacy that has come with it.