Don, my brother-in-law, still not hanging out with us, but we are talking, came over this morning with some family photos and some devastating news. His son,Johnny, my only nephew, died of cancer this past week. He is being cremated, no service, as he wished. He’d kept his illness a secret, fighting it for the last 10 years. Don knew, but he’d never told my sis, his mom. She couldn’t have handled it. He lived on the East Coast of Florida and I saw him rarely, but we were close.
I remember his birth. It was 4 a.m. Our phone rang in Chicago. It was my sister calling from the hospital, groggy from anesthesia. “It’s a boy,” she said, heady with joy. I awakened my parents. We were all thrilled.
Johnny had his tragedies as well. He married, had three children, and his wife, Shirley, died of cancer in her 30s. He was heartbroken. He took care of his kids, and finally remarried after years of living with Jan, and despite the disapproval of his children, reluctant to accept anyone else that is often the way these things can go. I called Jan, left a message. I don’t know if she will call me back.
I loved that boy. To me, still a boy. Beautiful Johnny.