This is day 6 of a New Year’s Resolution.
An hour ago, when I said goodbye to my Uncle, it was really goodbye.
He might make it through the night. Maybe. But there is no other conversation to be had when the patriarch of your family wishes you a good life and tells you to “take care, kid.”
This has been a year of loss. Close family friends have lost wives and mothers. My parents lost a close friend. But all of these were sudden and traumatic and tragic and the Facebook threads show shock and grief and deep discombobulation.
This is different. It’s just as sad, but my Uncle knows he’s about to die, and he wanted to say goodbye, and so I knew this was my last call. I got to say everything. Everything that matters, in the end.
I had my phone, my laptop, my sunset, my quiet office.
I was wearing a suit.
What does a Style Blogger have to say about death?
Crying isn’t something I do very often, but when I do, it’s not a pretty sight. I cry every year on Yom HaZikaron, when I remember two friends killed in a terrorist attack at Hebrew University when we were all too young and too far from home to die.
I cried, witnessing my hopes and fears as a teacher acted out on stage by a brilliant theater-improv group.
I cried when my journal was stolen.
I cried after the last episode of Battlestar Galactica.
All of these have one thing in common – unabashed, unashamed expressions of my true self, my deepest being. And in every case, while deeply vulnerable, I am also safe. I am held in the hands of my community, my friends, and the Lords of Kobol (or the One True God, depending on whether you’re a human or Cylon sympathizer).
Many think that style is about artifice. It is not. It is about capturing what is inside you and wearing it on your sleeve, so to speak, in a way that others might see and understand who you are before you say a word, before you lift a finger.
In that sense, my suit – a tan suit with a blue, polka dot shirt, a cheerful red lapel flower, and a slightly mussed haircut — was the perfect thing to wear while saying goodbye to my Uncle.
He was composed. Like my suit. He was organized. Like my polka dots. And he was cheerful. Like my flower.
I was the one who sobbed like a teenager should but can’t.
I’m glad I wore this today, and I’m glad I had my laptop nearby.
I’m glad Uncle David was my Uncle, and I’ll be sad when he’s gone.
I’m glad that I laughed and I made him laugh, I’m glad that I got to say goodbye.
And just as I felt for the crew of the Battlestar Galactica after their long and exciting and painful journey, I’m happy my Uncle is going home.