We typically celebrate new life in spring, but it’s late this year. One downside of reaching middle age is that we recognize obituaries more than new people entering public life. The recent deaths of Muppet co-founder Jane Henson, film critic Roger Ebert, comic book artist Carmine Infantino are reminders of our mortality and that life is precious. There is always war and suffering in the world, but we tend to focus on individuals.
After traveling to Chicago a few months ago for the wedding of my cousin’s daughter, Janice and I have dealt with less pleasant family news. Her Uncle Greg, who was always friendly and upbeat, died after a painful illness (at least partly caused by exposure to chemicals during the Vietnam War). We attended his wake and funeral in Pennsylvania, and it was evident from the turnout that he was much beloved by his community.
My cousin Socorro, who had taken me under her wing when I first visited my mother’s side of the family in the Philippines back in the 1970s, died unexpectedly in a fall. She had worked as a nurse in the U.S. and helped move me into college. Socorro returned home after illness, and her kind spirit will also be missed.
Three of my friends are still fighting cancer, and my thoughts are with them and their families. In the meantime, I have college chum David I.S.’s visit and a wedding in Upstate New York to look forward to later this month. No time to waste!