My youngest nephew is seeing a grief counsellor mano ~y~ mano. I worry about him, all the time. He is not taking his father's death well. He's like I was at that age: holds it close, doesn't wish to burden anyone with his feelings. Wants things to be OK, damn the reality. Hates the close-in attention he gets from his aunts and uncles. Needs some space to breathe and experience this on his own, but needs someone there to catch him. So, he's in good hands hopefully.
My oldest nephew gets married this weekend. My brother was supposed to officiate. We were going to be there and celebrate; I was excited, couldn't wait to see everyone, and my wife was so looking forward to seeing my brother and his family again. Now...well, they could have put it off a year or more. But they decided they'd go ahead with it, to make sure that it honors my brother, to make sure he's in everyone's mind as fully as possible.
And in my brother's place? I'll be officiating.
Wrote up a too-long ceremony. We'll see how it works. I mention my brother vaguely in the very first part; I don't want the ceremony to be about him, we'll all have him in mind, and we'll all talk about him and cry about him after.
Today my father texted me...my grandfather has been on his way out of this life for a while now, and he's on his last legs. Days maybe, weeks if he's stubborn, and he's stubborn. Nazis, Koreans, Italians all tried to kill him. Cancer tried to kill him. His heart tried to kill him twice. Now, though...he's not eaten in a while, he's struggling to breathe.
He'll pass soon, and I hope it's without any pain. He's one of my heros. He and my brother. Goddamn.
That leaves me and my dad as this branch. My father is an only child, and now I am as well. I have no kids. My brother's kids are our family's last branch. They'd best get busy.
I'm cooked. so much goddamn grief in the last five years. So much stupid goddamn death.
My therapist from the previous city is working over phone and skype with me. That seems to be working, which is good; I have years with her, and she and I know one another well. In all this, she knows the impact that it all has.
My stepsister...all but adopted by my father many decades ago, someone I've recently regained contact with...her ex (they were married 24 years, have two kids, recently divorced) discovered he has stage 4 cancer of some sort. Four weeks, they give him. She's pretty well broken; she was very close to my brother (they'd lived in the same house with my dad and stepmother for a number of years, had kids around the same time, were only miles apart in the same town) and now this.
Wedding this weekend. There is good, damn it. If it takes my every last goddamn breath, good will continue from my family, we will have some impact, however slight, on the balance. The scales will tip, damn it.
We'll do our part, as much as we always have. Just, less of us to do it. Heavier lifting needed.
I am so deeply, deeply broken at this point that I can't see a map, there isn't a horizon here. What I know, all I know is, there has to be beauty somewhere, there has to be good. And whatever I can do to encourage it, to build it....
I'll do it. It's what we do. Damn it. Tragedy is what it has to be. Our humanity requires it. It also requires hope, love, and good works.
It's what we do.
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