Okay. Deep breath. Okay, closing eyes. Okay… trying to understand what is happening here.
Today is the last day of my spring break. Tomorrow I head back to Washington, D.C. I would hardly call this week a break. You know how they say bad things happen in three’s? Well I learned first hand this week that this is true. I also learned this week that timing has a strange way of working. I also learned that nothing can beat out love.
Last Friday, my first day of break, my sister got into a car accident. I’m thanking god everyday that she is okay, even if her car (named “Diego”) is not. That was event number one.
Last Saturday, a week from today, I learned that my beloved cousin, so full of life, had become terminal. He had been fighting brain cancer for more than a year, and things had suddenly taken a drastic turn for the worse. He had weeks to live. Tuesday he passed away at the age of 23. I didn’t get to say goodbye.
The day I came home, my 13-year-old dog, Maxie, had stopped eating. She had been aging a lot this past year, but she became ill the day I came home. She passed away on Thursday, just two days ago.
My spring break has consisted of waiting. Of crying. Of hugging my family members and remaining dog. My spring break has consisted of nothing fun or break-like at all. But I’m not complaining… I don’t want anyone to think I’m complaining. I’m just telling the facts of what happened.
So what are the feelings?
I can’t believe my cousin Brad is gone. He was the most charismatic, loving, fun guy. The life of the party. The older cousin that I always wanted to approve of me and my sisters. The cousin that went skiing to France and Utah with us. The dare devil. The charmer. The one who joked about the ‘lamp sock’ in Grandma’s house and how it looked like a condom. We all laughed. Brad always knew how to make us laugh. Brad lived to have fun… he lived to TRULY EXPERIENCE LIFE. He beat cancer in his own way: he beat it with his optimism, his smile, his drive for life.
Brad’s funeral is today. I have to face the family and face the music of death. I’ve never been to a funeral, and I can hardly believe that my 23-year-old cousin is gone. It’s not fair Brad had to leave. That stupid asshole, Cancer.
And then there’s my dog, Maxie. I’ve had Maxie since I was 7-years-old… and I feel that I shouldn’t be upset about losing a dog when I just lost a human family member. But I am sad– that furry companion was one of my best friends. She was my entire childhood and teenhood. She even saw me off into adulthood.
I cried my entire week, and today I am empty. I can’t cry right now… instead my OCD is acting up and I have to touch different surfaces to counteract the thoughts of death. It’s crazy because although all of these horrible things happened– and I can’t deny that they’re awful– I’m glad I was home when it all happened. I don’t know how I would’ve handled it at school. Honestly, if I were at college during all of this instead of on break and with my family, I probably would’ve stopped eating. I probably would’ve slipped into my eating disorder– but no, I am stronger than this.
Brad would want all of us to live life the way he did. With joy, with passion. With excitement and vitality. His spirit will live on, and I hope today provides some closure for me. Because Brad, you were and are an amazing human, and I’m so glad that our lives touched. I’m so glad you were my cousin.
I miss Maxie too, and I know that I’m allowed to be sad about her departure as well. It’s just all too surreal.
Thank you world for my amazing family. Thank you for the love and support in my life. I vow to truly live from this moment on… once the mourning as decreased and I feel more present, I promise, Brad, to truly LIVE LIFE as you had. I promise.