Going the Distance

It’s time my kids learned something about doing the right thing with the right attitude. It’s not a lecture I want to deliver, but I think I’m going to have to. The thing is, while the lecture is needed, I don’t think I’m going to be able to manage a graceful delivery. And since TheDad is out of town for the next couple of days, I’ll have to fly solo on this one.

My uncle passed away Monday night. Until very recently, we didn’t know just how sick he was. While we had mentioned a few times to them that he was in the hospital, kids are kids and teenagers are teenagers and some things just don’t get through their heads very well, especially when they concern a relative who lives 2 hours away and whom we’ve seen 3 times in the past year.
I gave Big Brother, who’s away at college (but not TOO far away) a heads-up on Monday evening when I heard that Uncle Pat had taken a turn for the worse. I hate to deliver that kind of news via text message, but there’s just no good way to do it. Texting him to say “call home” isn’t any better, really. And he was as gracious as you can get in a text, commenting “that’s not good” and “let me know if you hear anything else.” Tuesday morning, after I heard the news and dithered about how I was going to let him know, I got back a :[ and “ok.” For him, that’s as compassionate as it’s going to get, I guess.
I have the feeling that my daughter, when I told her, was busy calculating just how many soccer games/soccer practices/trips to the mall/bonfires with friends she’ll have to miss to attend the out-of-town funeral this weekend.
Little Brother is going to absolutely blow a gasket when he is informed that he won’t be playing soccer on Saturday. To his credit, he did give me a hug and kiss when I told him the sad news.
Meanwhile, I grieve for my aunt and my cousins and my cousin’s kids, two of whom are infants and who will have to grow up with no memory of their grandfather. I grieve for my dad, who has lost all 3 of his younger siblings to cancer. I mourn the loss of a veteran, a firefighter, the “fun uncle.”
May you rest in peace, Uncle Pat. And may I find the grace and the words to guide my children through this time of mourning.

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