Growing up in New York my family would gather almost every weekend at Aunt Nancy and Uncle Roger’s house to have dinner and play mah jongg betting quarters into the night. These gatherings were very routine and content. We enjoyed spending time with each other. I imagine there were several times that seated around me at the mah jongg table for four were my Grandmother, my Uncle Roger, and my Uncle Mike.
Uncle Roger died last year after a long battle with cancer. Aunt Nancy sold the house in New York and moved to California last month. About a week after she left, my Uncle Mike was a pedestrian hit by a car. He lingered comatose for about a week before he died on a Monday, and my Grandmother who had been suffering from Alzheimer’s died three days later that Thursday. Although she was very advanced in her dementia, my family thinks she wanted to be with her son when she was told the news.
All of this loss in my extended family, especially the sudden loss of Uncle Mike, has taught me a lesson to cherish every moment with my family. I stop myself from getting upset over relatively trivial things. I should be grateful for the time I have with Josh, JJ, AJ, DJ, and MJ because I never know when we could be walking down the street and they could be taken from me in an instant.