When someone you love suddenly dies
have you ever laughed? And yelled FINALLY!
When Uncle George died May 3,
I did that. You might say, “That is mean!”
In Filipino culture, you would also add, “Let me slap you!”
If you met George, you would have done the
same thing. Interestingly, George’s wife, Lucy,
of 40 years asked if I would
like to make a speech about Uncle George.
Oh Lord, really?
In my office, I started to write about what was benevolent about
this man and what was positive about this “being” who lived to be 98 years old.
I couldn’t think of anything. I could hear his voice saying to me,
“I fell in love with your aunt the minute I saw her.”
If I could only turn back the clock, I wish I had had the nerve to tell him, “Yes, you did fall in love with her, you pompous son of a gun, you.
And, she carried you financially on her back all these years.”
Aunt Lucy raised me from the beginning. In many ways she is my
second mom. I wanted to protect her from this maniac, but I couldn’t. Her independent spirit and ambitious self went on a holiday never to
return when she married this man I had to call uncle.
Sitting in my office I hear the voice of the Holy Spirit,
“You have nothing to write because you are busy judging George.
The fact is he is dead and in his casket. Put yourself in your
aunt’s shoes and see what you come up with.”
I make a list of what Aunt Lucy saw in George. I can only come up
with three guesses.
1. Perhaps it was the way he moved. He had a swagger that I failed to notice.
2. Maybe he looked at her a certain way when no one was around.
3. Or, George brought out the best in her or made jokes only she could understand. Perhaps, they had a connection that can’t be explained.
We judge all the time. We wear our judgments like clothes and rub them into our skin like SPF lotion.
I judge my friends, relatives, the cashier at Safeway, and the driver in front of me . . . pretty much everyone.
How to change this way of being? For me, I try to be present and listen. I hear the Holy Spirit say, “Listen, you are not perfect either. Put yourself in their shoes.”
Thinking about being in someone’s shoes is the beginning of cultivating compassion.
I have compassion and respect Aunt Lucy. She made decisions
according to her liking and what worked for her. I couldn’t fix her
even if I tried.
Maybe George was her George Clooney.
I have come along way from my judging days. With your counsel
I can capture thoughts that don’t serve me or my surroundings.
Thank you for helping me be present so I can listen to your voice
Instead of filling my head with judgments, I observe. I see ladies walking around in their summer dresses, men wearing
nothing but shorts and tattoos, and kids playing in the sand.
I see that summer is officially here! Thank you for today. Amen