Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Ties That Bind

A little over a week ago, I flew to Chicago to attend the viewing for my 46-year old cousin, Michael. He committed suicide.

I hadn't seen Michael or his siblings for quite a while, though I chatted with Michael on Facebook recently and had received an email from him 5 days prior. I'm not going to say we were close, though over the years, there were times when we were.

Michael went to college in Denver. I remember the night that my mother and sisters arrived home from the hospital where my father had just died at the age of 47. I don't know why, but Michael was standing outside our door. The five of us went in the house and sat in shock at what had just happened.

Fast forward 29 years later, and I am in shock again. But this time, it's Michael.

In the midst of the trauma, there was something good.

I was able to reconnect with my other cousins and meet all of their children. I was a little uncomfortable at first, but it didn't take long to find my way back to the cousins that I had once known.

Enter Mark. The youngest of that batch.

Four years apart isn't much now; but when I was 16 and he was 12, it was huge. He was a brat. A fun brat, but a brat, nonetheless! He's not a brat anymore; but he's still very fun.

He happened to have an overnight in Denver a few days after I returned (he's a pilot), so he came over for a few hours. One by one, he enchanted each of my boys. They played guitar and drums for him. He played piano. He encouraged them to do their best.

And then, just when I thought he couldn't impress them anymore, he pushed the coffee table out of the way and started teaching them how to wrestle.
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None of us could stop laughing.
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Now Mark has taken up the cause of making my family healthy. We are all under strict orders to do at least 50 push-ups and 50 sit-ups every day.
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We have a chart.
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My arms are sore!

1 comment:

Anita said...

I am very sorry about Michael. That is just so sad. But it sounds like you found the good in a bad situation with Mark. That's awesome for you and your family; enjoy!