Lately I’ve been thinking about Chris McCandless and his death inside of bus 142. Along his journey he mentioned that joy does not come primarily from human relationship. Later, while in the bus, he came to a realization that happiness is only real when shared. He then tried to trek back into civilization but was unsuccessful due to the melting of the glaciers, causing the river to become a raging death trap. He then turned back to the bus where he was plagued with starvation and ended up dying alone.
This made me think. One can spend their entire life driven and consoled by the fact that we do not need human relationship or even interaction for that matter, only to come to realize that we actually do need it. It is how we feel real happiness. It is how we connect and understand. It is how we find meaning.
Today I found out that my uncle died. He spent his life tactfully planning every move only to be diagnosed with an aggressive skin cancer. He was kind, compassionate, caring, and had an extremely loving heart. From the memories we shared, I know that he had a fond love for the stars. We would spot the planets and stand outside to watch the satellite’s pass over. Of course he planned this as well. But I loved it.
It’s 1:15am and today is Thanksgiving. I am thankful for what I have learned. I am thankful that my uncle did not have to suffer a slow and painful ending. I am thankful that he finally has a front row seat to the night sky.
I am especially thankful for my family, both blood and non-blood. Tonight on my way home from work I drove past a group of friends walking down the road with their arms around each other’s shoulders. To me, that was an image of Thanksgiving. That was family. We need human relationships. As Ram Dass said, we’re all just walking each other home.
On March 7th, 2016, I wrote about how the Universe will always have its’ way. Maybe we don’t know what happens after death, and maybe that’s the magic of life. Maybe Uncle David is watching down on us all, pitying the fact that we are crying about his death. Maybe he is catching up with his parents. Maybe he is nowhere. Or maybe he is where I think he is; sitting amongst the stars.