Everyone’s Dead

Panos Family

Tommy and Parents

That’s a terribly morbid title for a blog post, and I don’t really mean to be morbid. But it just struck me that everyone in this picture is gone now. My Thea Sophia passed away from cancer in about 2002. Then her boy, Tommy killed himself in 2008. Then my Uncle Peter, Theo Pano, passed away a year ago. So now it is just Tommy’s sister, Aglaia, and their brother George, who has down’s syndrome.

Today is Tommy’s birthday. He would be 54 years old. It has been over three years since he passed away, and I still miss him. A lot. And I still feel guilty and think about what more I should have done to try to prevent such a thing from happening. It’s not like a think about it all the time. But when I do think  of it, it’s the same ton bricks it was when I first got the phone call. Why didn’t I take his melodramatic pronouncements more seriously? Why wasn’t I more insistent about what was not his business to worry about? I know that there’s no answering such questions.

Sometimes I think about these things I’ll never have again, or the people I”ll never see or hug again. It is like each loss is a loss of a little part of my own self, my history, my story, my being. Of course, the life process goes on incorporating new things into the story, making new meanings from our of day-t0-day lives. But these just get us by.  Their deeper value now lies in their being the raw material of certain other’s lives, of the next generation. Children live in the present; they burn right through it. So, there is no way to see at this moment how this present is being incorporated into the memories that will form their consciousness. But it is happening. And someday, 30 years from now, my son may wonder in turn about how to hold to what’s left of the people and things that are his story, his memory. I only hope he has fewer regrets.

  • I read somewhere that as you get older and the people that you know best, and that know you best start dying, you’re left talking to them in your head because at one point, there isn’t anyone you can meet or befriend that will know you with that depth anymore. The author said that it’s almost like entering the world of the dead towards the end of your own life. Of course this is just one person’s perspective and some people find it easier to live in the present until the very end. Personally I have a very, very limited understanding of that sort of loss as most of it hasn’t happened to me yet.