There are three of us in my family: my mom, her brother and me. They’re part of Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation” and deserve to be. Though my uncle continues to experience a myriad of health problems and related surgeries, his attitude remains one of acceptance and patience. My mom’s dogged determination, and Irish stubbornness, help her plow through all of the obstacles thrown at her. Then there’s me.
My stoic appearance belies the swirling and churning of emotions within. I feel everyone’s pain, I feel anger with a God that allows someone as good as my uncle to suffer one thing after another, I feel frustration with inadequate leadership within the workplace, I feel helpless at not being able to fix it all. As Dylan Thomas would say, I “rage against the dying of the light.”
My family has always been “different” than many others. As a young person, I learned to interact with the many older people in my life: grandparents, aunts and uncles. There just weren’t any others my age except for my brother. Holidays unfolded in a prescribed manner with lots of traditions. It’s a lovely way to celebrate and is becoming a lost practice. Things change. I’m not opposed to change, sometimes it’s just hard to let go.
My message to anyone reading this: Cherish what you have, what you have had, and don’t forget those who aren’t here to share in the traditions with us any longer. Sooner or later I’ll be the only one left to carry on what I have enjoyed over these many years thus far. I’m thankful for the memories I will have to sustain me.