Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Death in the Family

My brother-in-law, John, died today. It was utterly unexpected; a complete shock. At this point, I don't know the cause, at least not with certainty. The conjecture is that it was a heart attack.

After lunch today, my wife and I went out for a drive. We had no objective in mind other than to stop by the bank ATM to get some cash and go shopping for a few groceries. As we wandered about on the rain-slick streets, we approached an environmental educational center that we've been watching as it has been developing over the past many months. It's really just a demonstration garden, coupled with examples of solar collectors, composting bins, rain cachment system, and other odds and ends designed to serve as educational resources, mostly for school children, I assume. Being curious and somewhat "in" to the stuff, I stopped. My wife stayed in the car while I got out and walked around, exploring the demonstration site. When I got back to the car, my wife was finishing a conversation with her sister, who had just called to tell her what happened.

More calls took place later in the day. My wife and I will leave tomorrow for Boston to try to help her sister deal with the trauma and shock of what has just happened. I'm glad we can do it. But it's a hard, cold reason for making the trip.

Such things serve as brutal reminders that no one among us knows how much time we have left and when our lives might abruptly end. That realization can give rise to bitterness or despair, I suppose, but I choose to try, at least, to use it to try to reshape my cynicism into joy and appreciation. I will most certainly try. We are all we have. WE. You and me. All of us. We should serve as one anothers' treasurers.

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