We were never exactly close, Jerry Little and I. He married my mother's sister and together they lived on a farm a few hours away from where I lived with my parents. Like most of that side of the family, I saw them a few times a year. The Little farmhouse was large, though, and was a good place for the larger gatherings. I have very fond memories of Thanksgivings and Christmases spent in that farm house...the way the place smelled (good food and dusty wood, well-loved clutter and an out of tune piano that they let me play on anyway)...my cousin Tim home from college and holding the 5 year old version of me up in the air and tickling me until I couldn't breathe...and Jerry saying grace. Every family gathering, Jerry said grace. I think that is the strongest of my memories of Jerry. He was a good and simple man. There isn't much more I can say than that.
Right now, I am glad that he is at peace, that his body doesn't need to suffer anymore. I believe that he is blessed with infinite possibilities in the hereafter. Here and there, there is love. His children, grandchildren, friends, family...right now his name is on their lips and his spirit is being raised with love and tenderness.
While I don't subscribe to a particular religion, I do pray. I know that right now, Jerry doesn't need my prayers. He's in a good place...the best place. My prayers are for my cousins and my aunt. Expected or not, peaceful or not...a father has been lost. A friend. And that void is raw and harsh. So, please, if you're the praying type...if you just send positive thoughts or juju or light a candle, whatever it is that you do... please take a moment to ask the Divine to give healing and peace to those trying to come to grips with the Jerry-shaped hole in the world.
This is a reminder. We are all so fragile. Our time is so finite.
When I heard, I didn't cry. I called my dad. When I told him that I loved him, that's when I started crying.
This is when it's hard living 1800 miles from home.
Hug the people you love. Call and tell them you love them. Take care of one another.