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18 months between my uncle’s wedding and his funeral. March 13, 2016, was my Uncle Eric’s wedding. September 2, 2017, was my Uncle Eric’s funeral. The service for both events was held in the congregation of the Apostolic Faith Home Assembly in Gardena, California owned by his older brother, Marcus. In April of 2017, he was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme or ‘GBM’ for short, and was told he had a few months to live at the most.

The initial feelings I encountered when I heard the news weren’t ones of worry or sorrow, on the contrary, I took on this nonchalant attitude towards the situation believing was that he would recover and there was no need to make the day trip to California. When I found out we were going to California for my uncle’s wedding during spring break, I was ecstatic given that these types of trips are reserved for the summer.

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The whole experience in California and the wedding was great; we were able to visit Manhattan Beach, spend time with family we don’t usually see, and break away from the habitual spring break routine. Furthermore, I have always felt an indefinite disconnect between myself and this side of my family. I am sure it stems from the fact that my father is incarcerated and my mother doesn’t feel the same obligation to visit my father’s side of the family the same way we visit her family in the Philippines or elsewhere. Whether I am correct or not, I was able to connect with my father’s side of the family and be the ‘glue’ my father speaks of.

Once I heard that my uncle had passed I felt the accustomed feeling of shock along with the guilt of never visiting him in the hospital and assuming everything will be fine. Once my father heard the news and spoke to me about it he asked me to read a letter from him to his brother. Initially, I did not want to do it being the bashful, idle person I am. The decision not to do it was based on the fact that I did not want to step outside my comfort zone to do something so futile. However, after thinking it over I decided to do it because I owed my father this favor after my past displays of selfishness and even though I may hold past prejudices against him you can never truly hate someone.

The night before the funeral we made the late-night drive through stormy weather and the occasional pickup driver slipping into sleep to my aunt’s house. At dawn, we then made prepared for the funeral and arrived at the church. There I saw may people I have never seen in my life along with people I have known since I was three. With the letter burning a hole in my front pocket, I made my way to the stand once it was time for any additional words. Dear Eazy Until we meet again. Love, Peace, Soul I am not sure if the crowd was able to hear and understand my reading through my uneasy and minuscule voice, however, I feel that I was able to convey my father’s message thoroughly enough. I am eternally thankful for the experience and insight I was able to collect because it is has shifted my being to the point where it is now changing me for the best and I am excited to be apart of the journey and privilege of being able to interact with the future me.

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