So, I got back last night from a trip to Kentucky that was far harder than I thought it would be. When my cousin, Wayne, got cancer about ten years ago, it seemed like an awful thing but, his mother had cancer and got through it. And, Wayne, in his late 20's, seemed like he'd follow the same path. Grueling, intensive surgeries and follow-up radiation were awful but the thinking in our family seemed that he'd get through it and go on. So much for thinking. It came back and came back and, even after Wayne had found love and a family of his own, the cancer took him. He was 39.
It's beautiful in Kentucky this time of year, green and wild and, as I drove there and back over the course of two days, it struck me as incredibly bizarre that I was surrounded by so much life and beauty at a time like this. The incongruity seemed even more striking as I got to see Holly (Wayne's niece and my younger cousin)'s newborn son. Is this balance? The death of one so well-loved amidst so much life and happiness? Since this happened, I've been thinking and thinking and questioning so much. I believe that there is something higher, something divine at work in the universe, in us, in all of nature. And, one of the things that seems true about that higher power is that it seeks balance. Within us, within the wheel of the year, etc., the gods and goddesses are working for and striving to maintain a balance. So, where do I fit this thing that's happened? How do I account for the death of someone so young, who had so much good happening for him and so much potential good that he could contribute to the world? And, of course, the fact that we were so close in age makes me think about my own mortality. What am I doing with the life I have? Is it hollow and meaningless in the grand scheme of things or am I actually creating a life that has an impact?
There's a line in The Shawshank Redemption that keeps running through my head. "Get busy living or get busy dying." I think I'm doing pretty well, facing the things that scare me and going along anyway, trying to make the most of each day. But, if I only had six more years on this planet, I know I'd try even harder. Is that the point of this? I don't know.
I do know, though, that I have to put down somewhere what kind of memorial service I'd like so that some minister who barely knows me doesn't stand up and read the 23rd Psalm badly. Someone who knows me, the real me, should talk. And, it'd be nice if it wasn't a complete sobfest. Someone, please, tell a story that elicits a laugh. I know there are plenty of them. That's it for now, I'm going to watch Friends, eat chocolate and knit a little.