My niece, Joy, died New Year's day. It was sudden and quite unexpected. She had not been ill and was taking a nap before preparing dinner and died quietly in her sleep. Joy was only 47 years old.
Except for one phone call from her, I had not spoken to her since 2011 when I cut off all ties to most of my family. Joy was always critical of me. I am Catholic- she a Fundamentalist Christian who believes Catholics are heathens who pray to statues and are going to hell. I am liberal. She is a staunch Republican. I could care less what she believes. I could simply no longer take the incessant criticisms.
I cannot say that I miss her but I still feel a sense of loss. I lost a member of my family. I lost the opportunity to ever have a normal relationship with her- if such ever existed. My world has grown smaller. I feel the loss despite the absence of a warm, loving relationship. Why is that?
I feel very badly for Joey, her husband. He is a very nice guy and I never had an issue with him. I feel badly for my sister. She loved her daughter and was completely dependent upon her. I wonder how she will fare now? She has lived with her daughter and son-in-law for the past ten or more years. Liz will be 70 next month and has never handled being alone very well.
So many young people have died recently. Jeri lost her son. Someone of no relation but whom I thought was my cousin until I was nearly an adult lost his wife. She was only 40 years old. Another friend's wife faces imminent death from pancreatic cancer. She is down to 40 pounds and the doctor's cannot believe she is still holding on. "...any man's death diminishes me, ...I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."
Is that all I care about? I care about only me? Am I that self-centered?