How was your holiday season? Filled with presents and family? Really? Yeah, I hate you. My holiday was overshadowed by death. The ultimate party pooper. I’ve avoided writing this post because I know, in the end, I will be an emotional wreck and wishing you all could just read my mind (which would make blogging so much easier).
My Uncle Marty died.
He wasn’t really my uncle, but since I wouldn’t know my actual uncle if he came up to me on the street and offered me free chocolate or a cruise to the Caribbean, Marty was it. My mother and Marty had grown up together – gone to the same high school. He married my mother’s best friend; Sandy. My Uncle Marty and Aunt Sandy had two children, Sue and Rich. Rich was my age and I can’t really remember a time in my life when Marty, Sandy, Rich and Sue weren’t a part of it. They have always been my only relations on my mother’s side.
Marty was a man who was larger than life. People say that, I know, it’s cliche. However, in Marty’s case it was true. He was loud and passionate and angry. He didn’t just say “hi” in a calm, gentle fashion, but would grab you, hug you, kiss you and embrace you with the feeling that this was the first and last time he would ever see you. He gave generously and hurt deeply. He would tease you, chide you and poke at you, but always with a smile and a twinkle that told you that he loved you.
Marty was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about a year ago. It sucked. He’s gone now, and it isn’t fair.
But life isn’t fair and this was made abundantly clear to David and I when on Christmas Eve we received the news that our dear friend, Keye Ratley, was shot and killed. He was 35.
Keye, his girlfriend, his brother and his girlfriend, were all leaving a night club together, when Keye’s baby brother got jumped by two muggers. Keye ran in to pull the men off of his brother when the muggers turned around and shot Keye in the abdomen.
Keye had a quiet confidence about himself. A gentle demeanor that belied his wicked sense of humor and creative spirit. He was a friend to all and an enemy to none. He was a slave to technology with an absolute obsession with FourSquare and Facebook that left every person feeling like they were a part of his life. He was also a man who knew how to wear a handlebar mustache. David spent three years sitting right next to Keye at work, eating lunch together, talking about the latest Apple products. Only hours before Keye’s death David and he had been exchanging text messages about a new iPhone app.
We buried Keye on Tuesday – his family, friends, coworkers. David and I have cried a thousand tears and I know we have thousands more still yet to come. It sucks.
I don’t have words of wisdom. I haven’t learned some great lesson from all of this. People close to me have died. They are gone and that is that.