The Dotytron's cousin passed away yesterday.
There are no words.
Of all the cousins on the Dotytron's paternal and maternal side of the family, Cousin Al was the one whose spirit most aligned with mine. It doesn't make sense - I mean, look at the guy: a giant, bearded, tattooed, drummer (who went by the nickname "Yeti"). Where does all that overlap with a practically straight-edge, 5 foot 4, Asian, public servant nerdlinger? And yet...spirits are funny things. One of my first appearances at a family Thanksgiving dinner I remember getting daps from Cousin Al because I was the only person who could go plate-for-plate with him and his equally giant younger brother. He knew the value in dirty dives for good dutty eats. He was a faithful commenter on my pitiable Instagram feed, a copacetic audience for my pictures of ribs and rotis. He was one of the few people in my world (and certainly the only one in the Dotytron extended clan) who could appreciate or understand a good Ted Nugent or Buckethead joke. I could be as off-colour, unfiltered, and candid as I wanted. Before his diabetes sidelined him, he was in a band that I genuinely liked (the Diemonds), and I remember going to one of their shows with the Dotytron and Dr. Rei and loving the whole glammed up, tight-jeanned, second-coming-of-Guns'n'Roses-ness of it all. Like seriously, if you're going to make new music that I'm going to be into, thrashy, fun, trashy hard rock is kind of the way to go.
And he was kind. So, so kind. And gentle. And just a good, decent person, and really, that's such a rarity (I'm not nearly so good and decent as he), that the "just" in this sentence does that goodness and decency a fundamental disservice.
My shock is punctuated with disbelief and the overwhelming feeling that this isn't right. Since we found out yesterday, betwixt and between recovering from food poisoning, dealing with three kids, having a blocked milk duct, and the chaotic nature of Christmas around the corner - above all the noise of my life, I will hear my heart insisting: "No." No parent should have to outlive their child. No person that good should have to go so young and so sudden. I'm not a good and decent person. I'm selfish. When I think of all those years of family dinners stretching out before us, without anyone to at least chuckle at a one-note Buckethead joke? No.
We've had a hard few years with people being taken from us. Poppa, Poppa D, my Kung Kung, and now this. There has been joy, of course, but I read recently that life is sadness and despair punctuated with moments of respite from all that and in those breaks you savour. Last night, after Ehmdo and Momma D had gone home, after we had all gathered to cry and hug and be together, an ice storm blanketed the city. Some people are without power. Our cars are immobilized by ice. Downed tree limbs are blocking streets. We are being forced to abandon plans, stay inside, put our lives on pause, take a breath. I will try to savour. I will hold my loved ones close, feel warmed by voices offering words of comfort and solace, and I will try to remember that as selfish as I am for always wanting more, that I was lucky to cross paths with the Yeti.