(Originally posted on Multiply 3/15/07)
About 4 months ago, my cousin Jimmy passed away after a year and a half bout with lung cancer. What follows in this entry is factual. At his burial that warm November afternoon, when we we were all walking to say our goodbyes, I gave his 3 brothers a hug (all my first cousins) and could not even hold myself. I have not been to a blood relative's funeral since my uncle Leonardo. So this was not easy at all. Anyway, I'm the last one to believe in anything that cannot be explained by physics or the natural order of the physical universe. But as soon as I stepped away from my 3 cousins to compose myself, I looked down on the ground asking why the fuck do people have to die. And as I look down, I found this little plastic toy Lilo, from the Disney movie "Lilo & Stitch". Now, I have seen this movie several times with my 2 kids and the most famous line in the movie, after the human Lilo adopts the alien Stitch is "Ohana means family. And family means nobody get left behind...or forgotten." So maybe it's pure coincidence that I find this Lilo toy as they were about to lower Jimmy's casket into the ground for all of eternity. Maybe some toddler dropped it into the ground that sad day in November. But within a second of seeing this Lilo toy and picking it up, that line from the movie hit me "Ohana means family..." Or maybe it's Jimmy's way of using the lines of communication that's about to close. Anyway, I still keep that toy Lilo in my car and it always reminds me of that day in November 2006. Jimmy is family and he will never be forgotten.
Add'l Thoughts 12/30/10. Jimmy in 2006, then Maura in 2008. I keep telling myself that death is part of life. And in spite of what I read and what people tell me, I don't think it gets any easier -- I think you just get numb to the goddam pain of the loss of a loved one.