Life and Death

My mother’s cousin died last night. He was my cousin too, but I guess I always considered him an uncle. His father was my great uncle — he and my grandfather were brothers. There were 10 boys total, so the family was big. And, I realize that the way I’m describing him makes it sound like we are somewhat distant relatives. But, we weren’t. We were a big family in a small town. And, Lloyd…that was his name….always made me feel particularly special. It’s almost like he “got” me. I always felt particularly close to his two children when we were growing up, too.

There’s a big long story, as there always is, but suffice it to say that I’m just sad. I’m sad for my cousin’s loss. I’m sad for my mother, who was very close to him. I’m sad that every time a Wallace passes away, a piece of our family history dies. I’m sad because the last time I saw Lloyd, I was taken aback by how bad he seemed. But, even though that’s my last memory of him, when I close my eyes and think of him right this moment, I see his smiling eyes. And I’m grateful for that.

My faith is such that I do not believe we were created to die. We were not created to understand death. It’s why we grieve so. It’s why we ask “why?”, in my opinion.

I don’t even know what the point of this post is. I wish I had something poignant to say. I wish I could make some brilliant observation about this being the eve of the season of Lent. But I can’t. I’m just sad.

I guess mostly, I just had words I needed to get out. I want people to know that the world lost a good man last night. He wasn’t perfect. But he was important to the people who loved him. He leaves a wonderful legacy in my cousin and her children. And, even though I only saw him about once a year when I am in Colorado for a viait, I will miss him.

Life and death. They are somehow sweetly and beautifully mixed, but I don’t know how.
~Gloria Swanson


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