Sunday, June 1, 2008

forward ever, backward never

it's a humbling experience, finding out one of your beloved family members has passed away. it opens your eyes. it takes your breath away. it makes you seem very small in this overly populated world. he was admired by so many, some admitted it and others kept it to themselves. the type of smile that could light up even the darkest of rooms, he exuded happiness. 4 years. that's how long it took for the disease to take him. that's an incredibly long time if you think about it. he did so many things he wanted to do. he never asked for anything, he wanted to do it all himself and he did. to be honest, i never once physically showed any sorrow for him (that doesn't mean internally and mentally i didn't kick myself and wonder why it was him who had been given such a harsh obstacle) because he never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him. he would tell my mom, who worried the whole time, that she should get some rest or to just live her life. i loved my cousin a whole lot and nothing will ever take that away from me. whether i admit it or not, he's the reason why i love some things so much. if it wasn't for him, i wouldn't have such a love for sports, he's mainly the reason i love basketball as much as i do. he was a few years older then me, and i watched him play and loved every second of it and vowed that one day i'd be just like him. well if anyone knows me, i aged a bit in my pre and early teens but never grew any. i was tiny, and when i say tiny i mean really small and there was no way i could play basketball in a serious 6 foot 6 player world. regardless of my shortcomings in the game of basketball, he was like me in a way. in the aspect of height, i failed and gave up on the dream and started to wrestle but he was but a small man in a land of giants. he continued playing basketball and never gave up. even after he stopped playing, he coached. he had such a knowledge of the game seeing as his dad, my uncle, was a coach for my other cousins. although, if i may go out on a limb here, i'd say that he could get anyone to preform as best as possible from just being himself. he was such a lovable character. nothing seemed to ever get him down, it was as if no person, attitude, words, or actions could ever change or derail him. he pushed on, always ahead and at no time going backwards. i don't recall the day he found out he had cancer but it was really hard on not just his family but on my family as well. he would go for treatments and operations and would always come out on top. once out of the hospital or off the plane, it was back to the daily routine of pushing on. every day was a great day and he was thankful for the life he was given. never once did i ever hear of him complaining about what circumstances had been granted upon him. he would ask my mom about all of us. he wanted to know what every single one of my sisters was doing. he played video games with my brother in the wee hours in the night. he would ask my mom where i was in the country when i would leave for tours and would randomly text message me and ask how i was. do you know what kind of question that is coming from a person who's fighting for his life? for him to take time out of his day to ask me how i was would always catch me off guard. i've never been good with showing emotion outwardly, for people to see and help. i'm more of stone cold character, it may appear as if i'm okay and fine but this caught me off guard. i flew home on tuesday from seattle after being out for 2 months. when i got back the next day my mom had informed me that my cousin had gone into the hospital and that he wasn't well. my mom and i had a talk about the whole situation and she asked me what could be done and what she should do. i said that i don't think he worries about his illness and passing away because he knows there are so many people who love and care about him that he doesn't have to focus on that stuff. the number of people who cared and loved my cousin were so enormous, it's almost astonishing. it's an amazing thing when you think about it. other people were worried about an ailing person, that that person didn't have to worry about it and could just live his life the way he wanted. that's an incredible thought. he didn't care about the cancer so it seemed. he cared about sports more. he cared about the construction on the interior of his house. he cared about his family. he cared about his new niece. he put so many other things before his sickness, it seemed, that maybe he had forgotten at some points that he was sick. well it came and took him. even laying in his hospital bed, he was making jokes. he made a fool out of my brother, who thought it would be good to say i love you to him. well he took advantage of the moment and ended up making it seem laughable and smiling. you know, even though he was laying there looking malnourished and sickly, i couldn't help but smile. all the memories of him and i playing basketball or watching games or playing video games or chasing around my sisters or swimming in our pool. all of them were running feverishly through my head. for some reason, i had a sense of calmness come over me and i just stood there staring at him with his eyes closed and thought to myself, "he's probably thinking about the same things." as much as it hurts to watch someone go, it doesn't mean their existence dies as well. some of my fondest childhood recollections involve him and my brother. those will never be erased. nothing he ever did and all the trials and tribulations cannot be erased either. yes, his body has moved on and will be put to rest, but his accomplishments and accolades will forever remain. the inspirations and effect he had on people will always stay with each and every person he came into contact with. he spent 29 years shaping and molding the lives around him. i don't really have anything else to say. he wasn't just a cousin, he was probably the best human being i've ever come into contact with through out my 22 years of existence. i'll leave it at that until i can further explain it. till then goodbye mike.

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