Saturday, February 4, 2017

Taking a Timeout for Reflection

This has been a pretty quiet week across all the Jasgal142 Media network of blogs, news, and updates. I’m going to take a break from our regularly scheduled content of comic books, movies, products, and assorted things to talk about something that is a real priority for me—family.

Last week my world was rocked by a simple phone call. Now many of us have been there. The phone rings early in the morning or late into the night, only to be informed of the death of a family member or loved one. It’s a traumatic experience both for the person receiving the call and the person making the call. Personally, I hate being the one delivering bad news, but it’s part of life (and you make more and more of these the older you get).

My aunt had called earlier than usual to inform me of the death of my cousin, Vincent Stanton. Of all the people I expected to hear passed, 23-year-old Vince was not on the list. It was simply stunning, and after making my required contacts to pass on the news (see how it works), I went to see my aunt and her daughter (my cousin and Vince’s mother). Obviously, when a son and grandson passes away unexpectedly it is a fairly difficult time. It was an uncomfortable couple of hours, and it set the tone for a sad week.

When anyone dies, there is a tremendous ripple effect. Often there is enough sadness to go around—two or three times. In this case, I grew up with Vince’s mom, Becky as well as her two sisters. They are like sisters to me, and their mother (my mom’s sister) is like a second mother to me. I hold them in high regard, and I’m sure, or at least I hope, that all of you have similar relationships with family and friends.

Vincent was one of those kids, yes at 23 he’s still a kid to me, that was fun to be around. He could be quiet or he could be loud, but in any event he was fun to be around. Always smiling, not unlike a lot of us at that age. Did he make mistakes? Of course he did. Just like I did, just like you have, and just like we all are going to keep doing. There are plenty of was to judge the circumstances of his passing, but in the end, none of them really matter. The “Why” in this case, and in many similar cases, simply does not have any bearing on the situation. A young life was lost, and the family and friends have to adjust.

His sisters, his parents, his aunts, his grandparents, all the lives he touched, and there are many, have to make a new day without Vince. The story I like to tell is running into him around our small town. Since I work part-time at a local comic book store, I actually ran into him a few times. Vince always took the time to say hi and strike up a short conversation. It was never anything deep or fondly prophetic, the usual banter an older guy has with a younger family member. “How are you?” or “How’s your mom?” or “Hope everything is well.” You know, that kind of stuff.

The point of the story gets lost on a lot of folks, and I don’t blame anyone for missing it because I don’t really throw it high enough. You see, Vince MADE the time to talk to me and my family. He crossed the street or walked hundreds of feet. He didn’t care what his friends or girlfriends would think of a person his age talking to a middle aged comic book store nerd looked like. He wanted to talk, to say hello. He was polite, he showed respect. And in a lot of ways, he showed me a thing or two about how everyone should conduct themselves. He will be missed—terribly—by everyone that knew him.

It’s a sad situation. It’s heartbreaking. It raises a lot of questions. It yields few answers. At his funeral, sadness and grief were prevalent in the room, as they should have been. That’s a touch interesting, because those two emotions were not necessarily parts of Vincent’s life that I could see. Perhaps, that’s why it affects me personally so much.

In the end though, the reality of the situation does indeed take hold. Grandparents, parents, and sisters are tasked with paying for services rendered. After all, the bills always come due. That’s a fact of life none of us can escape. A friend of Vince’s father has set up a GoFundMe accountfor the family, and I would ask everyone to take a look.

If you can not or simply do not want to make a donation, no harm no foul. I would ask though that you take a few minutes throughout the course of your day to consider those close to you in your life. They can kids, spouses, friends, dogs, cats, anyone or anything, because in the end, love does not judge. Hold them a little closer, tell them you love them, let them know what you feel and how you feel. Not because they could be gone in the blink of an eye, but because YOU can be gone in the blink of an eye. I implore you, make sure those you love and hold close know how you feel.

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