Being so far away is a double-edged sword. With US politics being so depressing and overwhelming, its nice that I can just step away from the internet and have a break from it all (which I am assume is much harder to do if you’re physically in the US).
Its a different story when the news is more personal. In the same day, I found out that 2 wonderful people had passed away. When things like this happen, I really feel the distance… 12-15 hours time change makes it difficult to connect with anyone. And while Facebook used to be an adequate medium for staying in touch, its now a relentless source of bad news – death, sickness, hate crimes, and panic-inducing political updates. Its more painful than comforting to wade through it all.
Aunt Ellen was quite old and had been suffering from Alzheimers for years. Even after she no longer recognized anyone, she was always kind and full of joy. She always knew what to say or do to make the people around her happy.
When I was younger, her house was always the most fun – we would get the dogs fired up and have them run after me, skidding across the floors and barking. She had a room full of pachinko and some antique parlour games that I loved to play with… one day, I accidentally pulled one over onto myself and was crying because I thought I broke something valuable, but her concern was just that I was ok.
She was the kind of person who sent me a fondue pot, just because its frivulous and fun she knew I’d love it. She gave me the ring off her finger because I commented on how much I liked it. And when my grandfather was dying, she insisted on taking me to lunch away from the depressing hospital waiting room, because she knew I needed a break. I wish I tried harder to do more for her.
Kit was only a few years older than me. He had been battling cancer for several years, and recently taken a turn for the worse. Though he was a quiet person, he was outgoing in his own way and part of such a large community of folks. He & Kirk came to my Zumba class regularly, were always out dancing at Space Cowboy events, and willing to attend any costume party (no matter how ridiculous the theme). I don’t think I ever saw Kit without a smile on his face.
His husband, Kirk, has been unbelievably strong throughout all the chemo treatments, and did everything he could to help Kit make the most of his last days. I can’t even begin to imagine how he’s feeling or how he managed to be so brave. I hope he’s surrounded by some of the many people who love him and loved Kit – my heart breaks for him.