Christmas will never be the same.
That realization hit me like a sledgehammer to the face this week.
I spoke to my brother on Tuesday, which was Kathy's (his ex-wife) birthday. She was not celebrating; her birthday comes along two days before the first anniversary of her only son's death.
It was obvious that Eddie was upset; he and Kathy had spent some time together that day.
When I got off the phone I cried.
I spent most of Wednesday thinking and worrying about my loving wife, Carol. That day was the anniversary of her brother Sarge's death.
I cried many times Wednesday, thinking of her, thinking of him.
I spent Thursday dreading the call I planned to make to Eddie on the anniversary of his only son's death. I cried off and on during the day.
We never connected by phone. I cried that night.
As if that wasn't enough, Carol told me last night that she had received word that Rob McMenimen had died yesterday. Rob is an old friend of ours from back when we all worked at The Mitre Corporation. We have known him for at least 35 years. He was a couple of years older than us.
We rarely saw him but Carol had a lot of contact with Rob on facebook.
Way back when, Rob turned me on to John Waters. It was around 1972 or 1973. Rob and I shared a twisted perspective. I remember the night vividly. We ate dinner in Cambridge, MA at a funky, cool, atmospheric restaurant where we consumed excessive amounts of alcohol and ate well. Then we went to an equally funky theater to see "Pink Flamingos."
The movie is without a doubt one of the most twisted movies I have ever seen. Quirky, funny, repulsive to some people, campy.
I became a lifelong John Waters fan.
It is a rare thing when someone can turn you on to something or someone interesting; amazing that that person intuitively knows you will connect and keep a lifelong interest.
I remember Rob for many things, but that night will stand out in my mind forever.
December has become a cruel month for this family. Two years ago Craig lost a close friend in December. Last year we lost Jonathan, we lost Sarge. This year Craig lost another close friend in December. And now Rob.
I don't understand it. I understand that life is unpredictable and often cruel but I did not need all this sadness to drive that point home.
Nothing I can do about it except.....................................
Love my family openly and honestly with every fiber of my being and make sure they know it.
Carol, Keith, Emily, Craig, Karen and Eddie.
These six people are at the very core of my existence. I love them all so deeply it overwhelms me. I will never be able to put into words the love I have for them; the joy and the wonder they bring into my life; the way they constantly remind me, just by being who they are, that my life is magic.
I enjoy good, close friends who I trust implicitly, even with my life. We are going to dinner tonight with two of them - Phil & Betty.
I have known Phil since the second grade. That is 55 years, baby. You think that is a meaningful friendship?
I treasure it.
I am disgusted with the way December has treated my family recently. But I have a lot to hold on to.
I will hold on with every reserve of strength available to me as long as I live.