My mind is three tonight. Like a stubborn toddler, it refuses to stay in bed. I've laid it down, tucked it in and kissed its forehead, but it keeps leaping from beneath the covers and running into the living room. Stark naked.
And so, I write. Or, it writes. If I let it play a little while longer, maybe it will tucker itself out and crash on the floor. Then I'll pick it up, tuck it in again, and rise in the morning to make it pancakes. Chocolate chip ones if I'm feeling kind.
It's been an odd week.
My Uncle John died Monday in Frankfurt, Germany. We received notice he had about two days to live on Saturday afternoon. My Dad secured plane tickets for he and his sister (with the help of a very generous friend) that night and left at 4:30 Sunday morning to catch his flight.
From Wyoming, though, Germany is a long way away. Too long. My Dad and my aunt arrived two hours too late. Two hours.
I was not close to my Uncle John. But no one should die without family by his side. Now all that remains of him are lingering memories and lingering regrets.
I remember his eyes. They were deep set, hooded by his lids, and dark. I remember his cologne. He wore too much. I remember trinket gifts he gave me as a child. I remember he liked cars. And old televisions. And that's about it. I regret not knowing him more.
Still, a death always leaves some kind of hole. Some holes are carved by pangs of sadness so sharp one can barely breathe. Many members of my community have experienced such holes this week with a double homicide/suicide and another suicide within a span of days. Other holes are carved more by the wish one felt...sadder.
That is a strange wish. But I feel it. My sadness at this death comes more for my Dad, for the fact my uncle died alone, for the distance in the relationship. I do not feel the loss of a man as much as I feel the realization I did not know the man.
This bothers me. And I become keenly aware of how important people are in life. I feel guilty for glossing over relationships or taking time with another for granted. Perhaps that is what I must learn from this death. Each person in my life deserves my care, commitment and candor. I need to be honest to keep the relationship real. I need to honor my word and desire to spend time with them. If a "better" offer comes along, too bad. I am with this person. And I need to care about them. Really care. Every time I see them and in between.
Oh, there is more. My mind has more thoughts about life, dreams, fears, men. But, as I hoped, it's getting tuckered out. I'm going to usher it back to bed. Maybe after a rousing breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes, it will feel like playing again.