My cousin Brian, who I wrote about in my last entry, died at 12:05PM October 5, 2007. His wake was Monday and his funeral was yesterday. I cannot imagine what it was like for his wife, daughters, sisters and mother to watch him commit a protracted alcohol-induced suicide. As a cousin, I found it painful to see and my heart goes out to all of those who love Brian. I didn't say "loved" because we don't stop loving when someone dies.
The truth is that my memories of Brian are ones of childhood. I didn't really know him as an adult. I learned a lot about him over the past few days. For instance he was a member of the Elk's club and had been honored as "Elk of the Year" back in the 90's. His family and friends talk about his cooking, especially his kielbasa and the baking of cakes. Apparently his cakes were legendary amongst his family and friends. He had a vegetable garden and grew tomatoes which he shared as well.
One particularly endearing story was that he liked to feed the birds and the squirrels, but was none too happy when the squirrels tried to hone in on the birds' food. He didn't like that they would scurry up the pole on which the birdfeeder sat and eat what was meant for the birds, while they had a perfectly good block of food meant for them, down below. The remedy to this was for Brian to grease the pole so that the squirrels couldn't make it to the top. Of course this provided a continual source of amusement as the critters would attempt their pole climbing only to get to a certain height before sliding down, down, down.
Some of the Elks and some of Brian's friends got up and talked about him, sharing silly and/or heartfelt memories. Brian was loved. I wonder if he knew that. He had a large circle of friends. I wonder if he knew how important he was to them. I wish he could have had a "George Bailey" moment where he was made acutely aware of the positive impact he had on peoples' lives. Perhaps he would have chosen a different path. I wish we could all have those moments in our lives when we need them. I believe we would make different choices if we knew we mattered. I certainly would like to know if I matter.
Brian.... YOU mattered. You were and are loved. You will be missed. I hope you can see that, now.