Two weeks ago from yesterday, I lost my first cousin to cancer. Three years ago he found out he had it and now he is gone. He was 4.5 months younger than me.
36 years on Earth.
The grief from this loss was severe, but I found myself challenging that pain against the people around me. Without trying to pursue the thought, my mind kept ranking my loss with the loss of the mourners around me. I loved him more – His best friend lost so much more than I – His wife, oh dear, how can she even breath? – He was MY best friend as a child – How can that person over there feel as bad as I do?
The beautiful thing about my cousin is that he was everything to everyone he met along his path. But the beautiful pain that comes with that… is that he could never stay with you too long. He goes.
I remember being very frustrated at him as he left me one day. He changed from the person I loved and became something for someone else… his girlfriend that became his wife. He was not mine anymore. And then as we got older and I got comfortable with knowing his new self, he changed again. Always evolving.
At his funeral, there was a diverse crowd of people from all paths of life. All people that my cousin influenced in a positive way. All there to say thank you and goodbye to a wonderful person.
This brings me to the image of the marble above. This is how I see my dear cousin. He gave his best self to me when I needed it. My piece of him is no bigger or smaller than anyone else’s. It is mine. It is how I loved him; it is how he loved me. Our relationship is what it is and can not be compared to another. It is mine. My loss is mine.
My beautiful cousin spent his whole, short life handing out marbles. He gave pieces of himself to whomever he met. They were different for every person, because HE was different for every person. Not because he didn’t know who he was, but because he did. He was everything for everyone, and ever-changing to meet those needs.
The people that mourn for my cousin all have their own piece of him. He gave it to them. It is theirs. It is no bigger or smaller than anyone else’s. Their loss is theirs.
I’ve never lost someone that wasn’t an elderly relative. This loss cuts hard and deep. It is real. It is a motivator for me to make changes that are always temporary into permanent ones. It is a reminder that our time here is precious and small, and that the people I go through life with are the most important things there are.
Maybe I can leave a piece of myself with everyone I meet. Maybe I can love on people where they are.
Just like Matthew did.