Yesterday I was really busy at work. I only had a few minutes here and there to try and get things done. I took a couple to vent on BOTB and then ran off again. I did this because usually I can word-vomit it out there, feel better, and move on. But, I didn't feel better. My day got busier and I kept thinking about my uncle and friends nephew feeling bad that there was nothing I could do for them. (Note in case you didn't see my post - I found out Tuesday that my uncle has colon cancer and the nephew of some good friends of ours has leukemia - he is 8 years old.)
Fast forward a few hours. I am at home with J and my mom calls me crying. She tells me that our good family friend, Jay, has pancreatic cancer. It has already spread quite agressively and they are guessing he has just a few months left. I bawled. Is it terrible that I felt more for my childhood neighbor than my uncle? My uncle and I were never that close and Jay and I have had a relationship all my life.
Jay and my grandpa were great friends. When my grandpa passed I think my mom found comfort that Jay was still here and lived right next door. She found a bit of her dad in him. She babysat Jay's children (his son passed away about a year ago and he has a daughter in CA) and his daughter baby sat me when I was little.
Jay was a lot of things for me. When my parents were divorced (I was 8) he was a good strong male role model for me. He gave me my first job - it may have been pine cones for a penny a piece, but his yard was loaded with them and I was there every day after school. When I was 10, he taught me to drive. Not just driving, but how to change a tire, how to check the oil. And not just to drive any car, but his mint condition 1964 baby blue Chevy Impala. He played basketball in our cul-de-sac for hours, teaching me to play Horse. Jay and his son taught me to throw a frisbee and my first spiral. I swung on my first hammock in his backyard. He gave me a collectors addition set of oringal Crayola crayons and his classic authenic Chicago Bulls jacket.
So many of my good childhood memories involve him and his family in some way. Essentially he is my family. He helped to mold a lot of who I am today.
What makes me feel worse is that since I moved about 30 minutes away (4 years ago) I have barely seen him. It is a quick hello as I come to visit my mom and grandma. I hope that he knows how much he means to me. I hope that I have the opportunity to tell him.