I wonder if we ever really think about it. The fragility of life. Or what about the brevity of life. For it is, indeed, brief, even if one may live to be a hundred. Or more.
Do we ever really think about it? Do I ever really think about it? Didn't I know it then when my father passed away at age fifty-seven? I was seventeen and things just happened in front of me. Or things just happened and I was a bystander even though there were times when I was obviously right in the middle of it. I wasn't fully awake yet. I saw what was right in front of me. But I also looked down a lot and when one looks down, one doesn't see what is right in front of him; one isn't able to fully experience the event unfolding in front of his very eyes. Does that make sense? I wonder if it does.
I suppose that I still grieve for the loss of both my father and my uncle. My father's death happened twenty-eight years ago. My uncle's death was more recent. In no time at all, it will soon be one year since he passed away. And even though life goes on as usual, there is still an ache sometimes when I think that I won't be able to see him ever again. There is still an ache because I never got to say good-bye. Perhaps it sounds cliched but it's true. I didn't exactly get to say good-bye to my father either but at least I was there at his funeral. I got to say good-bye then. Saying good-bye can be hard; it can be one of the most difficult things to do. No wonder families and loved ones sometimes break down when they wish each other farewell at the airport. For who knows when they would see each other again? Separation can be difficult. And then both parties ease back into the regular pattern of their lives once again.
My father and my uncle. Two very different men and two very different relationships. After my uncle's death, I realised that maybe he was my John-Boy after all, the ideal older brother that I had dreamed about for so long since I was a young girl. No doubt an uncle-niece relationship is different from a brother-sister relationship. He was only ten years older but we always referred to him as our uncle for that was who he was. I never saw him as an older brother. But yes, now that I think about it, I mean really think about it, he was my ideal big brother except that he was actually my uncle so I never made the connection until after his death. Isn't that how life is?
There are still four men in my life who are very precious to me. I wonder if they realise that. And I wonder if I am precious to them also. Just because it is not talked about doesn't mean that it isn't so. I know that now. My younger brother has been more vocal about his feelings. The older three express it in different ways. I sometimes think that if they were more expressive, it would frighten me in a way, maybe even put me off. I don't know why that is for it took me a while to accept my younger brother's openness. It's as if I want it but I am also afraid of it. Afraid of what? Expressions of love are nothing to be fearful of especially when it comes from someone that you care about. Maybe it's not something that we are used to in our family. We are more reserved, more conservative that way.
Let me remember that life is indeed fragile and anything can happen. My father's heart attack when I was seventeen is one reminder. And my favourite uncle's sudden illness at fifty-four is another. Like a child, I still sometimes think that it isn't fair. As an adult, I have to tell myself to grow up and accept it as part of life.
My father supported my writing aspirations. So did my uncle. For that, I will always be so very grateful and thankful. And I am still also a little sad.
But time will heal. For Time has healed. I know that too. I can also go to Him and seek comfort from Him.
Since his death, I hardly had any dreams about my uncle. And I wondered why. For I hoped that I would, that he would tell me something, anything. Later on, I did have two or three dreams in which he appeared, but it was always very casual, nothing profound, just him going about his business as usual in the background. Nothing that stood out. As if he was always there. And maybe sometimes that's the best kind of dream to have.