My mom just called me. She normally doesn't call at ten o'clock at night and normally doesn't call two days after I talked to her, but I didn't think anything of it. And after those introductory exchanges, hi, how are you doing, good, good, she told me that she was sorry, but that she had to give me some more bad news. I said what, said it casually, like what is the world going to throw my way now, and I was really scared that it was my sister, far away living in Indonesia killed in one of the numerous bombings that have been happening there in the past couple months. And in that brief second between my What and her response, the scenarios that played across the screen of my mind were numerous, take longer to recount than the second that they actually occured in.
And she responded that my Uncle Robert died. This is an uncle that I never really liked, but whom I was very close to. Our two families spent just about every other weekend together. His wife, Sue, is my mom's sister and probably her closest sister (there are nine siblings). We drove to their houses in Delmarva all the time during the warm weather since they lived first in Rehobeth Beach and then Ocean City. My mom helped her through all three of her childbirths, through one misscarriage. And I was, and still am, really close to those three girls. Our two families are bound in numerous, painful ways, but that is life and that is why I feel such a connection to them, those girls are way too knowledgable about the world for how young they are. One is a freshman in college, one is in 11th grade, and one is in 9th grade and now suddenly, they are having to deal with more stuff, with the loss of their father, as much of an asshole as they may have thought he was.
My mom didn't know many of the details about his death, just that it involved a crime scene. She is flying down to Florida tomorrow morning to comfort her sister and help her though this, and the parellels between our families continue with dead fathers. This means that I am no longer going to New Jersey for Thanksgiving. My mom offered to buy me a ticket to go to Florida for Thanksgiving but I said no thanks, that I could stay here, I'd be okay. Really, I just wasn't sure I could handle a grieving house for a couple of days, and I asked my mom if that was wrong of me, and she said no, that it was okay, understandable. So I may be alone for Thanksgiving, may host a dinner here.
I don't know. My mind is not here enough right now to write. Death, again at the forefront of my thoughts. Robert, though, I remember his advice when I was about to go to college so clearly. It was toward the end of a night that both my parents and him and Sue had spent drinking, chatting, listening to music. I could smell the vodka on his breath, but I knew what he was saying were the sincere thoughts enabled by drunkeness even though I had still yet to drink at that point in time. I remember it because it reminded me at the time of the opening lines of The Great Gatsby, and also of my favorite movie at the time, The Graduate. He gave me one word of advice that was the only real advice I took to heart when starting school, perhaps ever, "Tolerance."