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.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Ann,

I am sorry to hear about your uncle passing away!
And I do understand what you mean with being able to be present - even and especially in sad times. It is easier to reach out and shre feelings, makes you feel more human (I speak for myself with these words).

I remember how you mentioned that your aunt would come and help plant/pick some flowers. And I thought - how wonderful to know someone in a place you recently moved to that you can ask for help in such ordinary matters. Doesn't it feel like a soft pillow underneath? That's maybe how your aunt might feel about you being close to her now.

Idena said...

I'm sorry to hear about your Uncle.
I do understand that feeling -- that blessing -- of being there.

Ann Wyse said...

I love the analogy of a soft pillow! Yes, I hope it is like that for my aunt.

Pregnantly Plump said...

It's great that you are able to be there for your aunt, and listen and allow her to relive her memories. I'm sure she appreciates it, and it's great that she has someone close to her physically for this time.