April 8th is both a happy and a sad day for my family. It is happy because that is the day my parents got married all of those years ago and their relationship has always been one that, though imperfect, has modeled kindness and love in my life. But it is also a sad day, April 8th of 2011 is the day that my Auntie Cara died after a 5 year battle with brain cancer. We were really close and sometimes I wonder how in the world I manage to keep living now that she is gone, but a part of me pushes forward in life because I want to live for her and I want to keep her light shining in this dark world. When she died my Uncle David, her and my mother's older brother, started to get more involved in my life and we began to get a bit closer. Until she got sick he had always been a bit distant from us, him and my mother had that oldest - youngest sibling thing going on and didn't really get along well, and he spent more time with his wife's family than his own. And then my aunt, his other younger sister, got sick and he started to be there for us more. He started to talk to me on Facebook and text me and when I went to college this last fall he would periodically check in on me. My aunt's death changed all of us, but I think it changed him the most. He started to really be an uncle to my sisters and I, not just our mother's older brother and their sibling relationship even began to mend.
This morning he went in for surgery on one of his lungs because they found a small cyst on the lung when doing a chest x-ray. It was only supposed to be a 4 hour surgery.
12 hours later and he was in ICU, still is, and they found the cyst to be a lot larger than they had thought it was and it was inflamed across both the lung and his heart. When my mother told me the news after I ended work today my first thought was: I can't lose him too. My family is strong, my uncle is strong, and I have faith that he is going to pull through and be strong, but the possibility of complications that could kill him is very real and undeniable. I don't know if I could handle losing both my uncle and my aunt in the span of 3 years and I know for a fact my mother wouldn't be able to handle it either. She's already lost her older sister, she can't lose her older brother too. It would tear her and my grandparents (who are both still alive, my grandfather against all odds) apart to lose my uncle. No parents should have to endure losing a child, let alone two. No person should have to endure losing a sibling, let alone two, when life is still new and there are 40 - 60 years left of good stories. No child should have to endure losing their aunt or uncle, let alone two, when they are still young and have a life to live. I love my uncle, I loved my aunt, and I can't bear the idea of losing my uncle like I lost my aunt. I have faith that he is going to be okay because he needs to be okay, this family will fall apart without him. I love him dearly.
when we lost her it was slowly,
and I didn't know how to react.
one day I was hugging her and laughing
with a whole life ahead of the both of us,
the next I was at her funeral
sobbing into my uncle's shoulder-
she taught me that life was short
and she changed lives and I don't know how,
but she changed her family too
and I hope she can see that
because her brother is now truly
my uncle and an older brother
and I can't lose him too.
a breath of air escaped my lungs
moments before they cut his open,
discovering a monster there larger
than the small spec on a machine that was
supposed to show his insides
clear enough to paint a picture,
but they didn't see it clear enough -
there was mud covering the lens
and now we sit in silence as we wait to hear.
we can't lose him,
we can't survive without his smile
lighting up small rooms,
taking the place momentarily for his sister
who waits, invisible,
for us to see her again.