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Vancouver, WA

April 29th, 2019

At this point in life it seemed ridiculous to still feel the pain that his aunt had caused his mother, especially since his mother was currently taking care of her sister while she endured her last days. His aunt had lived with the disease known as Lupus since he’d been in high school, which meant nearly two decades now, and within the past year she had developed tumors that were not a part of the disease but were far more serious in her stomach, her kidneys, and now in her liver. Her body was slowly shutting down, and yet all he could think of was the difficulty of having danced around the issue of whether he could respect her ever again.

It seemed extremely selfish, and he could acknowledge that it was. As he saw his children playing, chasing one another across the living room floor, he knew his wife was right. But it didn’t make things any better. It certainly didn’t make them easier.

*                    *                     *

“Did you talk to your mom?” she asked him as he slid in between the sheet and the mattress. He didn’t have to ask what she was talking about at this point since this was the only thing on her mind. His wife was a good woman and she cared deeply about family, but there were times that it made him feel rather coldhearted, as though he didn’t care enough. Deep down he knew he cared, but it was still hard sometimes to really open the floodgates and let it out. His answer was that someone had to be tough when everyone else was breaking down, and right now his mother was in a great deal of emotional pain while his aunt was fading away. His wife was about to cry half the time when she spoke of it, and thankfully their children didn’t understand why she had to look away when speaking of his aunt.

“Yeah,” he replied, “I told her we’d be up there on the 2nd.”

“Oh good,” she said as she rolled over to face him, “That’s my day off.”

“Yep.”

“Did you want the girls to stay in your parents’ RV or do you want them to go in and see her?”

He shook his head, “I don’t know yet.” Laying back he looked up at the ceiling, the stark white offering no answers yet asking no further questions. Of course that didn’t mean his wife was done asking.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” he said, feeling that it was true enough. He cared about his family, but he’d learned through years of losing people that no one was allowed to stay on this earth forever. When your time was up it was time to go, no matter how painful it was. In fact he hadn’t cried once since one of his closest cousins had committed suicide. Since then everything had just dried up. He’d lost an uncle, an aunt, his grandmother, another cousin, two friends, and his only remaining grandfather that he remembered to date. It wasn’t a death toll of epic proportions, but each person he’d lost had meant something to him, had been someone dear to his heart, and it had hurt each time.

His aunt was another one of those people, but admitting it seemed like it would be inviting yet another massive spike that he didn’t want to take at this time. And it was selfish, no matter the fact that he would not cry, nor would he mourn.

(to be continued)

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