My uncle died. He was not well for some time and his death was neither expected nor unexpected, but certainly sad. He was Dad's older brother. When I learned that there would be a small memorial service at my family's home in South Carolina, I honestly didn't know what to do. It's not easy to steal away from my life here. Three kids and school and all sorts of commitments. I emailed my cousin saying I probably wouldn't make it. But then I booked a flight.
I spent all of 24 hours there. It was a surprisingly wonderful time with family I don't often see. There was a brilliant sunset and lots of stories and laughter and tears and an exquisite wind-laced rendition of "Amazing Grace" and little dog named Duck and tears a Cadbury Mini Egg sleepover with my sister and home. I'm so so happy I went. I came back exhausted and drained and, yes, a bit melancholy and thoughtful about mortality, but also keenly reverent of what a privilege it is to be alive.
I sit here. Here. In this moment. In this day. In this bright coffee shop on the Upper West Side of my hometown Manhattan. I'm about to lose myself for a couple of hours in my manuscript, but first it felt vital to come here, to honor my real world, my real Now, a world and a Now that are rich and good and complex, filled with bits of life and love and, yes, loss. I'm thinking of my cousins. I know what it is like to lose a father. It's tricky and unfathomable and it changes you. It changed me.
Okay, off to hang with my characters. They are proving to be curiously complicated people who mean a great deal to me. I hope you will meet them in the not too distant future.
Have a good Thursday, guys.
Have you experienced loss of someone close or less close? How have you handled your loss? Do you think that these experiences make us appreciate life that much more? (I know I do.)