Death, Family, and Words Ending in “ian”

12 Dec

My Uncle, Gary, died on Pearl Harbor Day at the tragically young age of 61. We buried him Saturday, fifteen days before Christmas. Where family reunions fail at bringing everyone together, funerals get the job done, admirably. It was, of course, a sad day, but I saw aunts, uncles, cousins, and nephews (and more connections I’m not entirely clear on) I haven’t seen in, well, years in some cases. I realized that I miss being around these people. I hadn’t told Jennifer, but even she said “We need to spend more time with your family.”

I was once close to some of them, but my reclusiveness (social anxiety) and 87 miles have chipped away at the bonds. I often feel like an outsider. Though I love them all, I fight the feeling that some see me as a snob. Of course, I could understand if they do, for I’ve fallen into the habit of keeping to myself and saying too little. My own fear leaves me appearing aloof, distant, uninterested.

Though we gathered under sad circumstances, I enjoyed spending time around them. I wasn’t able to speak to them all, but I would have liked to.

Kids say funny things (and lighten the mood on sad days)

After the funeral, my wife, Jennifer, and I drove my twin seven-year-old nephews, Cameron and Tysen, to the generous Methodist church for a big, family meal. On the way, the boys complained of hunger and talked only of food. They raised the idea of me eating a chicken leg. Jennifer told them that we wouldn’t be munching on any kind of leg, because we were both vegetarians.

Later at the church, Jennifer sat with the twins as I took my place in the “food” line. Tysen told Jennifer: “If Mike brings you a chicken leg, I’m going to take it, because you don’t eat meat.”

Cameron, who had been listening, leans in: “Is Mike a lesbian too?”

Jennifer: “Do you mean vegetarian?”

Cameron: “Whatever.”

In our experience, kids commonly mix up veterinarian and vegetarian, but lesbian? This was a first.

For the record, neither I nor my wife is a lesbian.

4 Responses to “Death, Family, and Words Ending in “ian””

  1. Linda December 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    lol!!!!!!!!!! oh my gosh that is too funny! It usually is good to have kids around at those times to lighten the mood. I don’t I was a good kid to have around though. I have always been so upset by funerals that I cry worse than the family.

    • fightn4it December 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

      Yes, those boys DID lighten the mood . . . all morning.

  2. B December 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Sorry for your loss.

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