Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Life Matters

"You're doomed!" he said to me in a frail voice before supressing the latest round of coughing.

"I know, tío, and it's all your fault" my voice quipped as I chuckled sarcastically.

Despite the laughs, the lines on my forehead became pronounced with the worry I felt. The cancer has overtaken my uncle's body and it'll only be a matter of time before the end arrives.

Yet, there we were, joking in his hospital room about the fact that I would be bald someday due to my mom's notoriously hairless male relatives.

"You're doomed!" he said again, this time with a smirk on his face. I couldn't help but tear up a little bit because it was clear he had forgotten that he had just said the same words a few moments ago. The tumor in his brain was working its dark magic.

It's hard to grasp what the family has been through over the past several months. From the shock of learning the diagnosis to the golf tournament we put on to fundraise for what promised to be an unending stream of medical bills. Life without insurance can be a major bitch. The stress of having a terminal illness is potent enough so we felt an obligation to try to raise as much money as possible to alleviate the monetary woes of this rocky path.

It has let us all focus on loving and being. And that's exactly what we're doing.

On Saturday, I spent the entire day with just he and my tía in the mundane hospital room that was keeping him comfortable. He was looking at me and started to laugh to himself.

"Hey kid. Quiero una piedra verde on top of my coffin."

"Huh?" I instinctively responded as I turned my head to the side like a curious dog.

"Yeah, I want a green rock. Like kryptonite. So you can tell everyone that they finally got him"

Laughs abounded as I realized that the cancer would never kill the spirit of the man that ranks up there with the biggest smart-asses I've ever known (that was a high compliment, by the way). While he hasn't told me directly, he let my mom know that I was to be the one to give his eulogy when the time finally comes for him to start the next chapter of his life.

It could be days away. It could be months. It'll be soon.

But for now, it's all about love and nuestra familia. Peace too. He's at peace despite the pain and anxiety of watching his body shut down. That has been the greatest gift to us lately.

So instead of agonizing
today, I'm on the hunt for the perfect geode so I can tell the world about my uncle, the superMan. It's the least I can do to repay him for my thinning hairline.

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