Of Fun Times and Family Losses

Hello Readers,

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in more than a week. Although I rarely plan things out anymore,1 but I like to write a post or two weekly.

The truth is, the past week has been a very weird one with logs of ups and downs.

First, I got promoted at work. Readers who may have followed along for a while know that I got my current job during the pandemic after my last company (think mice and jedi) laid off my department due to redundancy. I was pretty lucky to get the job I have, but having worked remotely for 2 years, it’s been far more stressful to get up to speed than it would have been with someone by my side to show me the ropes. That said, hard work paid off, and my family and I celebrated with a nice dinner together (at, we still have a pandemic, you know).2 I usually like to keep work and personal hobbies, including blogging, separate, but it was nice to finally get recognized. I had worked in various companies in the past 20 years and almost never had a promotion in all that time. That doesn’t mean my current company is all roses though, frustrations abound, but I am surrounded by good people who recognize me, and that’s greatly appreciated.

A few days later, I got a call from my uncle. It seems my other uncle, my mom’s oldest brother, died. This was a shock to the family, especially my mother, in a way, but in a way it wasn’t. My uncle, like my grandfather who had died a few years earlier, had been a very private person who also had been slowly dying from cancer. In both cases, smoking heavily probably didn’t help. Anyhow, my uncle was a pretty wild and cantankerous person from what I heard, and even as a teenager I almost got in a fist fight with him after he drunkenly insulted my mother.

And yet, when my grandfather died, I met him for the first time decades at the funeral and he had changed. He was quieter and more sullen. We talked for a bit, and he said something really nice to me, and that was the last time I ever saw him. I texted him earlier this year to wish him a happy new year, but I never got a reply back. I didn’t know he had been in the hospital recently for an unrelated injury, and that he later wasted way and died at home. I didn’t even know he had remarried in all this time.

The only photo I have of my uncle (center) and my grandfather (right). It was taken almost 20 years ago when my first born was a tiny little girl.

I was really glad that I got to talk to him one last time at grandpa’s funeral, and that we had a moment of reconciliation, but I am also really saddened about how little we got to interact over the years, and how now we’ll never get that chance. When my grandpa passed away, I had similar feelings of loss; the last time I saw him in person was way back at the time of the photo above, and before that only once when my wife and I first married.

In reality, I feel sorry for him. His youth was had been a very difficult one, and his relationship with all of us, as a result, was very problematic. But I like to think that he found at least some peace in his later years, and that’s what allowed us to reconcile like we did, even if only for a few minutes.3 Needless to say, I miss my uncle and my grandpa, and I said some extra prayers for both and in hopes that they may find peace in a future life. RIP.

Finally, the family and I took a break and went to Portland, OR. We have gone there before, a month before the pandemic lockdown in early 2020, and had not traveled at all since then apart from a couple small, isolated camping trips. This was the first time we did a proper vacation, outside our home state (we traveled by car, not plane,4 btw) and it was great. My kids were so happy after coming back, they were practically glowing. It was hard to go on a vacation so soon after my Uncle had passed away, but we had already reserved everything, and my kids had endured lockdown for so long, so I knew I couldn’t back out now. I did pick up some very good books on Buddhism at Powell’s and had the obligatory donuts and coffee there, plus my youngest son loved the zoo.

From there, it’s been a week just to process all the ups and downs of the previous week.

I have a few more posts lined up soon, so thanks for your patience and continued readership.

Namu Amida Butsu

1 In an older blog incarnation, I used to do things on a set schedule, but often times I found myself scrambling to “fill slots” and it wasn’t’ always my best work. I would love to actually to do nothing but write blog posts all day, but alas I have to live a life.

2 This post did not age well. 🤦🏽‍♂️

3 Prior to his death, my uncle had also requested that there be no funeral service after his death. He didn’t want that burden on others, and I feel that was pretty magnanimous of him. I may do the same someday for my own death.

4 Even if I wanted to go somewhere, I doubt I’ll be flying anytime soon, unless I absolutely have to (e.g. some emergency with my wife’s family in Japan). Too much hostility among some passengers, and too few common-sense health and safety procedures.

Published by Doug

🎵Toss a coin to your Buddhist-Philhellenic-D&D-playing-Japanese-studying-dad-joke-telling-Trekker, O Valley of Plentyyy!🎵He/him

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