Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Dangit, 2016, again....

Just got off the phone with my mom. One of my cousins - her nephew - has died.

He was one of the cousins on that side I waat. s closest to even though he was much older than I was. His given name was Darryl (as so many men in the rural North are) but he went by Chum. He was one of the bearers of the redhead gene in my family - the gene that has snaked through, been covered up, and periodically reappeared (apparently my niece got it, probably through my brother, who probably got it from our mom, even though she had dark hair)

Anyway. Chum was only four years younger than my mom because of weird family demographics so he and his wife were more like an uncle and aunt to me, but still I liked them. They raised a lot of their own food, he built much of the house in which they lived. He fished and hunted and was generally good at those kinds of things a person needs to survive when they live in a rural area and don't have a lot of money.

He had had a lot of health problems; he was a Vietnam-era vet and while I don't know too many details, he had injured his back badly while in the service and tried a lot of things (including colloidal gold) to fix it, and it was never very good. But he never really complained about it, he just did his best to keep going. You only knew what a problem it was when he'd get up in the middle of a family meal and go stand leaning against the wall.

A couple weeks ago, I guess he had a stroke (I hadn't heard that, I'm not sure if my mom knew). Apparently it was a bad one and he never recovered. In fact, Bonita (his wife) said she had gone to the hospital and whispered in his ear (and this is the part where I was fighting tears, but didn't want to cry, because I didn't want to make my mom cry, and I got the sense she was JUST holding it together) that if he wanted to "go home" to his mother and father and grandparents (he and I had one set of grandparents in common....) and his brother, she would be okay, that if he needed to go, he should go.

He died not long after that.

There's not much more I can say. My mom has lost most of her family up there; I think Bonita is the one who's left that she was closest to. It must be hard for her - all her siblings are gone, her parents are long gone, she's lost two nephews.

I'm ready for 2016 to quit this.

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