DIARY OF A KIDNEY LOVER
This is the diary entry I didn’t want to write because I have to tell you that my Uncle Bob passed away a few weeks ago. I have been thinking about this a lot, trying to figure out how to start this blog, how to include all the things I want to say. I even tried writing some of this in a handmade journal in a Starbuck’s, without edits or stalling, just words and scribbles and arrows. It helped a little, but in the end, it was time to go and the entry was not complete. And when I left, I thought I saw my uncle sitting at a table outside. The mind sometimes sees what it wants to see. On the walk home, I saw three very real and very tiny lizards cross my path, felt the sun on my back and thought how beautiful the planet is. And I thought about all the days that had led up to that one. My uncle, a long-time diabetic and more recent kidney disease patient, had been admitted to the hospital following a stroke and heart attack – pretty typical ailments for someone afflicted with kidney disease. Seven weeks of up and down days followed. This, too, was probably pretty typical. Everyone thought he was finally getting better until a series of infections took over his body.
On that walk, I didn’t want to think too much about the physical part of his illness. I figured there would be time for that later. I decided simply to remember my uncle. I dug deep and realized that he and my aunt had taught me two of my most important lessons. They made a good team, you see; she was everyone’s favorite nursery school teacher and he was a policeman with the city of LA. Uncle Bob could be fun and he could be stern, obviously a good disciplinarian, which brings me back to my lessons. First, don’t be a tattletale. People don’t like tattletales and ultimately, they stop listening to your stories. Second, don’t throw a metal toy gun at anyone’s head. Yes, my cousin Matt made me so mad that I threw a little gun at him. Thankfully, he was a moving target and the gun must have just grazed him, but it made him bleed. I still remember the faces of my aunt and uncle, near tears with concern for their son. They were gentle with me though, determined to get through. And they taught me in the kindest way possible – through the visible love they demonstrated that day – that violence is never the answer.
I think I will end it here. August 10 was my Uncle Bob’s birthday. He would have been 64 today. What an example he has been in my life!