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Prayers please

June 4, 2009

My cousin Tommy died quietly in his sleep last night. He was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago, but he’d been holding his own. He was 72.

That leaves my cousin Susan, (who is like a second mom to me) as the only living member of her immediate family – the only surviving sibling. I’m so sad.

He was a ball breaker. He could argue with you about white paint being not white, and he was obstinate as hell. I loved to hear him bellowing in his Queens accent about life according to Tommy. He and my dad would stand in front of the keg and argue about just about everything. Tommy would bellow. My dad would bellow back, and shake his head in disbelief. Then he’d tell Tommy to his face what a pain in the ass he was, and they’d both laugh.

His oldest daughter, also named Eileen, was pregnant when she got married – to a much older man. Ironically, this came about after she had broken off an engagement with a younger guy because she “just didn’t want kids”. (She ended up having four…)

When my husband and I married, I was only 20 – my husband only 21. I still had my last year of college to finish. We got engaged and married within a seven month period – and planned our wedding rather quickly. We decided on Memorial Day weekend that we’d get married at the end of July. Tongues wagged and eye brows were raised as to what was motivating us to marry so quickly. (I mean, what’s an Irish Catholic family good for if not good gossip!?)

At the reception, Tommy came up to me, hugged me, pressing an extra $100 cash into my hand, and said in my ear, as he kissed my cheek, “Finish college.”

I wasn’t pregnant – only foolish and young. But he didn’t know that. And he liked me – he thought I was too smart, and too sweet for that kind of start to my life. He knew I should finish college (which he didn’t know was definitely in my plans!)

I loved him for the kindness of his action relative to that awful assumption…

He loved his kids, and was way soft on his grandchildren. His granddaughters had him wrapped around their little fingers. It made me smile to see him with them. Tough talking, ex-navyman who turned into goo at the batting of little blue eyes.

I can’t remember when I last saw him…last summer? My life has been such a self-absorbed blur for the past two years, I can’t rightly remember now.

Anyway…I’ll miss him. It feels like lately, all I’m doing is losing things that I have not cared for as closely as I could have.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2009 3:58 pm

    I’m told that in the Quoran, it says that God does not subtract from man’s allotted hours, those minutes spent in fishing.

    I don’t know how you feel about the Quoran, but I found that my son rarely listened to me the first time. I always had to tell him over and over and over, because he wasn’t paying attention. I hope our Father is equally patient with His children; after all, we were created in His image, right?

    So I look for gems where I may find them, and consider the possibility that all Holy books may be His word. And maybe even that beer commercial that says ya gotta grab for the gusto.

    Go see Susan.

    My wife and I are having a race to see who can lose their mind first. I’m afraid to let her know; I crossed that finish line in 1994. But in any case, you need to go see Susan.

    In another year, she may be dead. Or you may be dead. Or, like me, you may be checking all your pockets and searching behind the cushions on the couch, trying to find the mind that you’ve lost.

    I can pray all day long, but you need to go see Susan.

  2. episcopalifem permalink*
    June 4, 2009 4:14 pm

    Thanks Harl. I agree with you, God has planted gems of wisdom all over the place. Lots of books, secular and religious alike, contain his wisdom – so talking about the Quoran and beer commercials works for me.

    I’ve been digging Rumi lately, myself.

    I’ll definitely be traveling this weekend – to Long Island for the wake.

    Susan I see regularly – she is heart of my heart. But the advice is good and I’m listening.

  3. seashellseller permalink
    June 4, 2009 4:18 pm

    Prayers for you and all who loved your cousin

  4. Paul in ABQ permalink
    June 4, 2009 7:14 pm

    May he rest in peace and rise in glory. ((((((( Eileen )))))))

  5. June 4, 2009 8:49 pm

    Blessings for peace and peace of mind for lovedones.

  6. June 4, 2009 10:07 pm

    Prayers ascending. Everyone needs a cousin Tommy in their life. That one “just a little overbearing but also always there” relative.

    (Ooops. In my family, that’s me!)

    You are smart to know you have been soooo lucky to have him all these years (but I bet on some days, you thought “not so much”….LOL!)

    May he rest in peace. I suspect he’s found the celestial beer keg already and is holding court!

  7. June 4, 2009 10:07 pm

    I’m sorry to read of your loss. He sounds like quite a guy.

  8. klady permalink
    June 5, 2009 12:07 pm

    What a wonderful man. I’m sure you’ll miss him very much but I’m willing to bet he’s still cheering you on, only now in whispers about how beautiful and smart you are and deserving only the best. ((((Eileen)))) (Sorry I can’t give the hug to you in person tonight)

  9. episcopalifem permalink*
    June 5, 2009 1:59 pm

    (((((Klady))))) I’m gonna miss you much!!! But, I’ve been in the mama spot too…sick kids always come first – even when they are teens!

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