I still feel a rush of emotions when I remember my uncle and when I reread my post (here) I wrote after he died.
My birthday is still bittersweet because it was on my birthday that my family buried my uncle.
Now, 6+ years later, a lot of those feelings rushed back to me.
A few days ago I got word that his ex-wife as ill, in the hospital on life support, and had multiple organ failure.
I remember when they were married. She was the American wife to a kind of old-school Nigerian man, but in front of us at least, she was always so friendly. Always full of cheer. I rarely saw her not smiling.
To me, at the time, their divorce seemed sudden and out of nowhere. Looking back and at my uncle, I'm sure being married to him and dealing with all of his issues could have been draining and straining.
Even after the divorce, she would sometimes be seen at some Nigerian family/friend functions.
At my uncles funeral, she was there with us as my siblings, my father, and my mother went through the emotional service. She was there smiling as I read my blog post for the mass of guests. She was there with us even through the after events.
Once she found us all on FaceBook, it was on. She was often one of the first to compliment me or my family on our recent photos and wished us each a happy birthday each year. Always two days early.
She was so freaking nice that her illnesses and the fact that they made her suffer for longer than I could imagine dealing with illness make me cry just typing this.
It hurts to think that I didn't speak to her since early March, and even that was through email correspondence.
It makes me wish that all people in my life - current, past, close, not-as-close-as-we-once-were could be seen now, given a hug, or at least share a laugh and some messages. Messages of how they've touched my life, improved my mood, made me think, shared my joy, helped me in times of sorrow, made me stretch beyond my comfort zone, made me question myself, made me improve myself, or even just sat next to me during a boring workshop or meeting.
I always hold myself out to be strong and steadfast in my stoic nature.
I remember when some crazy stuff happened to Kid Sis #2 and my mom was shocked at how hard I took it - shocked at how much it impacted me and that I cried, hard.
I cry over shit.
I've started to cry at little things - including stupid scenes in tv shows. I cry at joyful things as well as sorrowful things.
I am almost always impacted when events involve people I love, have loved, or care about.
I can't help it.
I don't know that I want to help it anymore.
I'm fine with my emotions coming out at times.
What I want to be better at is contacting people I care about more regularly. I need to be better about letting them know how much they mean to me before it's too late, or before they forget that I ever cared.
I need to spread the joy that my Aunt Sharolyn spread with her smile and all of her kind words.
Hopefully, she knew how much I loved her and her energy...