On Saturday morning I found out that my Aunt Kim, who has been battling cancer, passed away. Its weird that when we think of death, we think it comes suddenly. Sort of like disappearing. But I had the distinct impression after speaking with my uncle on Friday night, that death comes slowly. Like a process. It isn't simple and is not something necessarily pretty or graceful.
I suppose when you really think about it, we are in a constant process of dying. Like a dog constantly barking. Annoying and always there in the background and one day you finally hear it and notice it.
When I think of Kim, I think of her as a lively person who laughed at herself for always befriending weirdos. She said it and it was true that people who were odd balls or the type of people you'd go out of your way to avoid eye contact with, she didn't mind talking to. She said she minded and would roll her eyes, that kind of thing, but I think deep down she was entertained by the odd ones. She took an interest. I consider that kind of interest brave because I always feared speaking to really odd people.
When I was younger, I would spend part of my summer vacation in San Diego or Oceanside to visit her and my Uncle Rick. Rick is my mom's brother. So Kim is related to me by marriage.Often Rick was working so my cousins and I would take the train down from the OC and Kim was the one who was there looking after us while Uncle Rick worked.
She had three children. She took good care of them. And then one day she left my Uncle Ricky.The reasons why don't really matter right now. But she left for a long time.
Fourteen years later, she came back and my uncle was there for her. They had such a short time before they found out about the cancer. They stayed positive and fought it.
But they could not beat it.
When I think of Kim, I think of days on the beach and us laughing at my constant ability to sun burn so easily and my inability to catch a decent wave. But sometimes its just the trying that counts. Not whether or not you achieve something.