Honoring Family and Friends

I’m not used to writing a blog, but I am trying to remind myself to update here once in a while. I think of this as sort of a personal diary, but more of a bringing myself to the world type thing. Anyway, today I learned that a family member and a friend died yesterday. Two in one day. The same day I went with my boyfriend, Hans, and his family to visit their family cottage.

The boat is named Muistot, Finnish for memorabilia. It used to belong to Hans’ grandfather before even his mother was born.

We ended up visiting his mother’s parents grave. It was very emotional, but I felt like everyone was hiding their emotions. I felt the wave rise up in me at the thought. At understanding this life, and at seeing his mom standing there. I thought and felt so many things that tears streamed down my face. I was wearing sunglasses. I wanted to hide it. I didn’t feel like I should be allowed to cry if no one else was, or showing their emotions. I stayed behind a little while to collect myself, but it coloured the entire experience.

I thought that one day I would be her, standing above my dead parents. A day I have dreaded for much of my life. I also thought that we would do that same for his parents one day. I wondered if we would be as quiet. I wondered if we would want to walk away and hide our emotions, and try to get on with our lives as if it didn’t hurt.

Then I looked out at the whole cemetery and thought that all of these people once probably did that, and now they are in the ground. And how many more there are, and yet to come. Rows and columns of graves, all over the world.

Today, I learned that my cousin, Rebecca Jones, died. Shortly after that, I learned that my friend, Zachary Guinn, died. I have had friends and family die before, but two in one day is a new sort of thing, the experience is overwhelming, but I feel like I have mostly shut down. I didn’t know Rebecca very well. I think we only met a few times when I was young. I would hear about her through my father. I always thought highly of her, she seemed like the kind of person who went after what she wanted, and I admired that.


My Aunt Betty on the left, and cousin, Rebecca Jones on the right.


Zack, I met in massage school at East West College. He had an incredible smile and infectious laugh. His happiness was palpable. We worked closely together when I did a case study on him, to understand the effect massage had on lowering blood sugar. I was saddened deeply to hear he died from complications associated with his diabetes. I always kept the jacket he gave me, one that he had designed for Columbia Sportswear, as a prototype, but it didn’t get selected. It always made me think of him, but I never stayed in touch after I graduated school and moved to New Orleans. He was far too young, but I know he did his best to live his life to the full. Everyone loved his energy. He was a remarkable person, and I know I won’t be the only one to mourn his passing.

source: Jessica Rattner via Zack’s Facebook wall

In the story I am writing, death is a major topic. I think about it all the time. I’m coming to understand it as a part of life, but each loss is unique, and difficult. I don’t think it is ever going to get any easier. If you are reading this, I want you to know how thankful I am that you are here on this earth. I hope we are friends, and I hope we help each other to enjoy life a little more each day.

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