He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus
Funerals have an odd way of becoming like family reunions – seeing cousins you haven’t seen in years, though you live within hours of each other; seeing tweens you remember meeting as infants. Seeing how time has – whoosh! – just whipped passed while you were head down, like an ant, toiling over and back upon your same little paths.
Today was my uncle’s funeral, one of my Dad’s younger brothers. He was the fun guy, the one who asked what we wanted for Christmas, who single-handedly kept me supplied with sweater dresses throughout the eighties (no mean feat), who was always ready with a joke and uproarious laughter, always teasing (or mocking), in contrast to my father’s sometimes stern mien. This Uncle welcomed Tech Boy to the family with the offer of a beer and a smoke. (Again, to piss off my Dad.)
My uncle was always a little bemused by me, I think — he was a league bowler, a diehard 49er fan, a Giants and Warrior season ticket-holder. He was loud and jovial and competitive. I… wasn’t really any of those things (although, I WILL throw down with you in Scrabble. Any time). I was one of those people who took forever to learn how to ride a bike! But, sporty or not, I would sit on the floor in front of his massive big-screen TV… with a book… and hang out.
We all find a place to fit in where we can.
I’m grateful today for the memory of a carelessly jolly man, and those people in our lives who allow us to be who we are… with not too much teasing.
“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” – Eric Hoffer