Letter From New York Sunday, November 30, 2014

The sun has set and Patroon Street is dark; it is the end of the Thanksgiving weekend and I am already talking with friends about Christmas Day – where will we be? What will we be doing? I’ve offered my dining room table for Christmas Day for friends. We’ll see how it works out.

But what it means is that is now the full blown Holiday season. I found today the Christmas present for my friends Nick and Lisa – always a challenge but, today, I walked into one of my favorite stores and saw something that immediately screamed their names and I bought if for them.

For several years I spent Christmas with the McCormick family but we are scattered this year. Eighteen months ago, Joe, the oldest son of the Eros family, died in a freak hiking accident in Alaska. His mother was a McCormick. And the tradition of our holidays ended with his life while his parents sought some sense of things with their surviving child, Michael.

They had already lost one child, Margaret. While very young she underwent a kidney transplant in the days before there was test for AIDS and she was transfused with tainted blood and died.

I was at her wedding. I was at her funeral.

My sense of tragedy remains. When I arrived for her wedding Margaret catapulted herself across the living room of her parent’s home to welcome me to the festivities with a hug so grand I remember it to this day.

One day I walked with Joe and asked him what kind of way he wanted to describe our relationship and he asked me to be avuncular with him, a role I played with his cousin Kevin.

I never felt I did the best job of doing that that I could. I tried but I’m not sure I succeeded. He was so smart and yet seemed so remote when you reached for him. I loved him but am never sure he understood that. I work, since his passing, to make sure those who I love KNOW that I love them.

Our lives are rendered so easily.

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