“Razors pain you,Rivers are damp,Acids stain you,And drugs cause cramp.Guns aren’t lawful,Nooses give,Gas smells awful.You might as well live.”~ Dorothy Parker, Enough Rope
Love Does Not Keep Score
“And when he died, I suddenly realized I wasn’t crying for him at all, but for the things he did. I cried because he would never do them again, he would never carve another piece of wood or help us raise doves and pigeons in the backyard or play the violin the way he did, or tell us jokes the way he did. He was part of us and when he died, all the actions stopped dead and there was no one to do them the way he did. He was an individual. He was an important man. I’ve never gotten over his death. Often I think what wonderful carvings never came to birth because he died. How many jokes are missing from the world, and how many homing pigeons untouched by his hands? He shaped the world. He did things to the world. The world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions the night he passed on.” ~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
My uncle passed away last week. He was my father’s youngest brother. Among my father’s siblings, there’s only my father and his next oldest brother left. My father will turn 83 this year, and my uncle will turn 85 in June.
I had not seen my uncle since 2016, and prior to then, I had not seen him since I was a child. It is a curious thing how memories bind our love towards people even when we rarely see them. I have lifelong memories of my uncle from when I was about nine years old. We lived in California then and my uncle had not married yet. He came to our house often. I think he even lived with us for a time, if memory serves me correctly. Anyway, I remember how he was the “fun” uncle who would buy us candies and make us laugh. He had a wonderful singing voice too, reminiscent of Matt Monro. When I was around ten, my uncle married and then my cousin was born. After that, we rarely ever saw them, and some years later, my family moved to the East Coast, and I never saw him again until my visit to California in 2016.
I feel as though I am not worthy to speak of him since I rarely ever saw him. In a span of a year, I probably only thought of him a few days out of the 365 days, on holidays and such. But love does not keep score, does it? Time and distance have no weight when you love someone. It is just there. And now he’s gone. But the love is still there. It was always there. And I will miss him and mourn all the days we did not spend together, but I will hold tightly to the memories I have held since I was a young girl.
See you later, Uncle. ♥
“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” ~ Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery: An Autobiography
I got a promotion at work this week. It is long overdue, so I am not even excited about it anymore. I am thankful about it though. So many people are out of work and are anxiously waiting for the next stimulus check in order to make ends meet, while I am here flourishing in my career. It does not seem fair somehow, but then again, I worked damn hard to be where I am in life, and so I do not apologize for my good fortune, but as always, I am, and remain, grateful that I have achieved some successes in life.
My brother, on the other hand, has not been as fortunate of late as I have been. Troubled by his increasingly turbulent marriage and failing business due to the pandemic, my brother retreated back to the Philippines to reset his life. My parents, ever judgmental, have not been very supportive of his decision to return home, albeit temporarily, and have been bombarding him with questions and accusations, and in short, have called him a failure.
Harsh. But that’s how they have always been – tiger parents that have instilled in the minds of their children that if you are not successful (translation: rich), then you are a failure. Or simply: a loser.
But, really, what is success? A good job? A good marriage? To be able to afford a big house and a fancy car? Why can’t success be something intangible, like achieving peace in one’s heart? Why can’t one be considered successful if they are able to satiate the hunger for freedom in their soul, or dull the ache in their core to feel the fullness of life, instead of the emptiness in their heart?
In theory, my parents consider me successful. I have a good job and a lovely daughter. My brother has a failing marriage and a failing business, and his biggest crime: he has no children.
But in reality, my brother is more successful. No matter what obstacles he has ever faced in life, he has always kept a positive outlook and is genuinely happy. I, on the other hand, despite outward appearances, am prone to depression and disparaging thoughts. I am empty inside while my brother’s soul is rich. To me, that is real success.