Monday, March 31, 2008

Love and loss so I'm liable to soon be gone a while

This image is perfectly perfect as it captures two themes. I am reflecting on an amazing man and a precious sister who is about to have to let him go. Struggling with prostate cancer has been their life these recent years. Yet they've been a wonder to behold. Their life and love has been something I've at times been jealous of. They each found their perfect partner while in school at Auburn University and proceeded to raise two fine children that have become solid adults of their own. My nephew and niece have married well and started families of their own, the niece even marrying "The Republican" who I can't help but still like. My sister and her husband have been very involved in their little church and community down in South Alabama for thirty or so years. When our mother died when I was but thirteen they took me in for almost two years. Words can't convey the kind of people they are.

On a selfish note, this man is yet another surrogate father I've had to give up within the year as my best friend's father unexpectedly died this past August. I miss him for my dear friend of course but also for his wife, who I'll label as a surrogate mother of mine. He was a special man that influences me even today, as does my brother in law.

I can accept death. I've surely seen enough it seems, often from the damned cancer, and yet I grieve for those left behind. My sister and my best friend's mother both love the men they made their lives with and I know the long road ahead for both of these tremendous women. To lose what you love doesn't diminish the love but you'd still like to have them with you I'd think. I hope I'll not have to find that out for many, many years.

Now for the good news. I'll start with something my brother in law relayed to me via my sister this weekend when I told them the good news. "Now John will have someone to grow old with." That somebody is going to be my wife. We are/were to marry Friday and then spend a long weekend up on one of the Puget Sound islands above Seattle. We've been together, on and off, for nine or so years now. We should have married long ago and if I hadn't been scared and also rather an ornery ass we'd have likely done so. Given the delay, I suppose with trouble back home, and notice I didn't use "home" this time, we can work toward another date or place should that be required. If now or later, I'll still be so very sad that while I marry my one true love to see my sister have to let hers go on without her. They are both people of strong faith yet loss is still real on this earth.

So I'll likely be AWOL for a few days yet perhaps not just yet. I wanted to drop a post in case the blog sudenly goes blank. I'm not a religious man so save your prayers if they are for me. But there's a kind, smiling, tall man who loves to turkey hunt almost as much as he love his God and family. That's my brother in law. He and his deserve whatever you can give them.

However, the bride and I will take a smile and congrats for our marriage. We'll have to be apart far more than I'd like over these next few years as she will remain in the promised land of Auburn, Alabama for at least a little longer. But I'm hers and she's mine. Our love will last. And we will grow old together. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ Evening of April 2, 2008 - My sister's husband has just died. Their courage, effort, and grace in these last few years have been so impressive. I'll be flying home in the evening to arrive in Atlanta early Friday morning.

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