Emperor of Maladies

Pat Moore, my aunt, died sometime last night.  Previously, my plan was to drop off Suzie at the train station early in the morning, go back to sleep, see all my guests out to a late brunch and then drive down to Delaware with my brother and his wife to visit her as she fought late stage bile duct cancer.  I got the news driving back from Somerton station and wasn’t much able to get back to sleep.  I asked John and Ken to leave, canceled my lunch plans and sat and talked with Pat and Clara.  They are both in the medical field and are comfortable with death and generally I am too but I was glad for their company.

I didn’t really cry when my uncle Ted died nor at the passing of any of my grandparents.  I didn’t cry when Nate DeTemple passed nor any of the other camp staff members I knew left us.  But over the last year I’ve become either more emotional or more in touch with my own emotional state and while I don’t want to say I was hard hit by the death of my aunt it left me in tears at several points.  She was my favorite aunt/uncle and her decline was gradual and foreseeable but her passing was still forceful.  After Pat and Clara left I did my general browsing and found that Joe Paterno had died.  Someone for whom I have no strong feelings but lamentations at his passing would drown out any epitaph I’d have for the aunt that none of my friends knew.  My sadness passed to anger.  So I called some people, cleaned up some odds and ends left by my guests and drove to my mother’s house to feed her pet bird who knew nothing of why his owner was missing.

I sat in a dark kitchen and as I threw out my second tear-blotted tissue, I ask myself qui sum ego decet, who am I becoming.