Loss

My family is saying good-bye to a member that I am sad to say I never got a chance to know very well.

He is the husband of the eldest of my cousins on my father’s side, and I’ve only seen him at the annual Easter party (which I did not attend this year). We never talked much, but I know that he was a good man. He was good to my cousin, and they were happy.

Forty-nine years old.

I remember when my dad was forty-nine years old. I remember when my mom was forty-nine years old.

It doesn’t seem like all that long ago (it wasn’t; not really).

What is there to say?

——————————————–

As my paternal family makes plans to attend the funeral, I have to field the inevitable question: are you going?

I’m not.

In truth, I don’t have a reason to be there. I didn’t know this man well enough to need a chance to say good-bye. I didn’t attend their wedding, I wasn’t there for the birth of their son, and I wouldn’t feel right being there at this personal time. I have not worked at keeping in touch, and so this would seem like an awkward time to suddenly be: I am here for you. I love you.

Even though I am. And I do.

But to spend so many of the last years not being there, not picking up the phone, not sending emails, not getting to know her husband and their child, it feels so wrong to suddenly want that connection now that he is gone.

My heart goes out to my cousin, and to the children who lost their father.

I have no more words of my own.

——————————————–

One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

–Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

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1 comment on “Loss”

  1. Marta

    I have a very hard time with loss. Not in the typical way. But in the very awkward uncomfortable way. I have never lost someone I truly knew. My grandfather passed away, but he lived on a different continent then me and aside from a few vacations when I was younger than 10 I never knew him. I felt sad, but not for myself but for those who knew him. It made it easy to not attend having been in college in Minnesota at the time and the funeral back in Poland. But I would have felt strange being there. Phony. I’m sorry for your cousins loss, and for their children.

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