My times online are not as long nor as frequent as I'd like them to be, so I apologize.
Reality still reminds me of you, dear community of TA, though not in the friendliest way possible.
My uncle is dying.
He has always been the strongest male presence in my nuclear unit. I was raised first by my grandparents (deceased in the 90's) and then my aunt and uncle. He was born a good ol' southern boy in a 'Christian Nation' and converted to Mormonism, mostly for the sake of his wife, I assume. He's always had simple core beliefs without a lot of patience for dogma or ritual, but was deeply spiritual. My aunt is in denial. The rest of the family are guiltily exasperated with watching him suffer. He's always been so strong, so proud.... so damn mean.
I was his favorite.
Is it wrong to speak about him in the past tense? He hasn't even died yet, but I knew when I left America three years ago, I'd never see him again. I don't want to rush back to the U.S. I don't want to witness is deterioration. I don't want to attend a memorial service that will be laced with lies to make the family feel better, even as they sit there crying. At that moment, when their minds are overshadowed with doubt, they'll cling even harder to the false promises that offer comfort, no matter how superficial. It makes me angry.
It isn't something I want to sit through, and I doubt I can do it quietly. Why can't everyone just gather to celebrate an exciting, colorful life? That's what he would have wanted. Shouldn't there be Bud Light, hotwings, steak and fries instead of hymn books and dignified sympathies? He'd laugh his decaying ass off if the neighbors brought lilies. Hot Rods and 151 was more his style.
Even if I don't agree with it, I should still be there to support my family, my aunt especially. I almost want to, under my own terms... but I can't see this charade, this never ending parade of stupid as support. Whatever gives her comfort ought to be my first priority, but deep down, we both know this is just going through the motions, and there isn't any peace to be found.
God didn't take him early. A lifetime of wild parties, alcohol fueled nights, bar brawls, weekend highs, backbreaking labor, racing cars, hard work and living life to the fullest did. It was a choice he made, and I do my best to follow in those footsteps, knowing all too well the expectations of consequence for the decisions I make.
He's been my role model in life and will be in death. I love him.
I don't thank any deity for the short time we had together. Surely if there was a god of love, this parting wouldn't have to take place.
I don't curse any white-bearded-all-father for the emptiness that will take up residence when he is gone. Anything I feel is a human reaction, formed by eons of natural selection of family preference. That doesn't make it hurt any less, but at least I have the answers to the question that every theist will be asking: Why? Why do we cry if we think he's in a 'better place?' Why did he have to die in the first place. Why are we here?
It's simple, really. Once you remove the fairy tells and superstition, the purpose of life is so beautifully clear.
We are here to celebrate life and leave the world a better place.
My uncle did both.