Compounding loss

Another year has passed since my mom passed away. This year, my uncle passed away on the day before my mom’s anniversary (on my sister’s birthday, poor sweetie). I didn’t know him that well, but his son is probably the cousin I’m closest with out of all my cousins. I feel immensely for my aunt and my cousin. Especially for my aunt because she’s been with her husband for I don’t know how many years — at least 40+ years and I can’t imagine losing someone after spending most of my life with that person, and just before the anniversary of the day I lost my youngest sister, too.

I know exactly what my cousin is going through — the guilt about not spending enough time with your parent, the wondering and worrying about what his/her life was like at the end. No matter how much time you have, it’s never enough. And when you start having your own life, everyone else’s diminishes a little. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them; you just have other, more immediate family members and concerns to think about.

Parents are so complicated. Just like love is complicated and life is complicated with a richness and variability in flavor and warmth combined with the rawness and vulnerability of new skin getting sunburnt. Real, genuine love will always break your heart. It can fill you to the rafters, but is the only thing that can also disappoint and hurt with the same intensity with which you love.

I think about my mother sometimes. Not all the time. Not even that much on the anniversary of her death. Ineke sent me and my sister this poem and it was probably the most heart wrenching part of my day. That, and thinking about my aunt. Because love for your parent isn’t the same as the love you have for a partner. Your life partner. I look at my SO and have no idea if he’ll be my life partner or just my partner for the time being. I don’t know what loss like that must feel like, but I can imagine. And even just in my imagination it’s heartbreaking.

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