Strong I am With The Force
In my 42 (43 in one week, WTF?!) years on this planet, I’ve been pretty lucky in a plethora of ways. Okay, I wasn’t particularly lucky when they passed out the height or hair genes. But trust me, I’ve been lucky in so many other ways. In general, I’m just lucky that I haven’t had to say many final goodbyes to loved ones.
In third grade I had to say goodbye to the only grandfather I had ever met. My mom’s father died long before I was ever even remotely a consideration, as she tragically lost him on her 7th birthday. I wasn’t especially close to my grandfather, they lived in Florida and we were in New York. But I remember him fondly. Funny enough, what I most remember about that loss, was something I wrote, as a way to process that loss, that my second grade teacher loved so much that she had to tell my parents what a talented writer she thought I was. Then at the age of 14, I lost the grandmother from my mother’s side. Another tragic loss for my mother, as she passed away while my mom was on a plane to Cleveland to visit her. I loved her, but I wasn’t really all that close with her. Although, I realize now that I have more than a few of her personality traits. I don’t call my mother every night, just as she and my father are sitting down to dinner, like grandma did. But I’m pretty good at keeping in touch, something she had in spades. And I’m a Jedi Master of worry. I wasn’t able to attend her funeral, due to the fact that I was sitting in a hospital bed in Kansas City. Side note: when the wire from your braces pops out and goes THROUGH your cheek, it hurts like a bitch. It can also get infected and cause your face to blow up like a balloon. So, yeah, don’t let that happen.
We lost my father’s mother in my late 20’s. That woman was a force of nature in a tiny frame, who logged more walking miles her 90’s alone, than I’ve logged in my 42 (yes, it’s still 42) years. Equal part Sith Lord, with her command of the force known as “Guilt”, and part Jedi for her wisdom, Yoda like ears and inane ability to push the right buttons. I loved her dearly, but our relationship wasn’t the smoothest, somewhere between Obi-Wan’s relationships with Luke and Anakin. And I have no idea how this took a Star Wars turn. I’ll blame Disney Plus. Then in my mid-30’s, cancer took away my mother’s only sibling, my other uncle. A hilarious, brilliant and successful man, who I wish I had been closer with. And those really are the only goodbye’s I’ve had to say. After winning the wife lottery, and marrying the love of my life who happens to come from a humungous family. I’ve, sadly, been to more funerals than ever before, as she has had to say her goodbye’s to numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
I have more than a fair share of people in my life that I feel really close to and have a legitimately special connection. But I have been especially lucky that I haven’t really ever had to say goodbye to any of those people. Until this week. While I loved my grandfather, grandmothers and uncle dearly, but those relationships weren’t anything like the one I shared with my uncle. After a year of preparing to say goodbye, I learned there’s really no way to prepare for these goodbye’s. A lesson I learned just three weeks before, when we had to say goodbye to our beloved Riley, yet I still somehow forgot. I don’t have the words, right now, to explain my love for him or our connection. Because I’m stuck. I’m stuck with this feeling that struck me during the funeral service. Sitting there in that temple, with my parents and seeing all the amazing cousins, that I’m so lucky to have, along with seeing all the familiar faces from my aunt’s side, I couldn’t help but look for the one face that united us all. The man with the shit eating grin with the legendary twinkle in his eye, wasn’t sitting among us. And lack of that that Hirshberg sized body (i.e. not very big) and arena filing presence, left a hole in our hearts that rivals the Grand Canyon. Obi-Wan described The Force as an energy field that surrounds us and penetrates us. Something that binds the galaxy together. The Force wasn’t something Uncle Jerry wielded, Uncle Jerry, with all his Han Solo-like charms, was The Force. And The Force will always be with me.