A year ago today, my uncle Jeremy passed away. This past weekend I had some time to myself and decided to visit Glide, remembering him and the time we spent there together. I imagined sitting in the pews with Jeremy as he was texting away on his phone with the font size big enough for an 80 year old to read from a mile away…
What I have struggled with the past year is coming to accept how much Jeremy influenced my life in such a short amount of time, yet the majority of my life I couldn’t quite define our relationship. Only in the past two years have I felt like Jeremy changed me and that so much of who I have become and the choices I have made have been because of him. Sometimes all I want to do is call him up and ask him for a great recipe or hear him yell “OF COURSE” to some idiot when they ask a dumb question. It would have been amazing to share with him my trip to Asia, where I got to see the orphanages he donated so much time and money to and had a dormitory built in my grandmother’s name. I felt more connected to him through that trip and feeling like I got to see a part of Jeremy even though he wasn’t there with me.
I wanted to give my grandma purple tulips today in honor and memory of Jeremy (but actually couldn’t find them at the store.) He planted them in spring of 2012 and got to see them bloom last April just a few months before he died. He wrote about them in his blog, commenting that when he was diagnosed with cancer he thought he may not live to see the spring, but when he noticed the purple tulips in the garden one day, he felt a sense of renewed hope, something these tulips have now come to symbolize for me. I try and look for hope in my own life and embody that spirit in the way Jeremy did with his cancer.
“The price of love is loss, but we still pay. We love anyway.”
-Next to Normal
The Broadway play Next to Normal was one of Jeremy’s favorites, I think he had seen it more than a dozen times. He wrote this quote in his blog one day and it has stuck with me since then. I think back to this often as I think of him, and what it means to lose someone you care about. So many people are afraid to feel the weight of sadness, and often times we suppress that to a point we can no longer ignore. To love is to truly embrace the possibility of loss, and guarding yourself against that loss ultimately keeps you from experiencing true love.
I am glad Jeremy left me with that.