Tuesday, October 11, 2011


On September 10th, while on an assignment, I found out my cousin Brian Lundy, Jr. had been killed on Marjah, Afghanistan.

He is not the first of my famliy to die.                                                          

He is not the first of my family to die young.

He is not the first of my family to die in violence.

But this struck me....and it took, I think, a day for me to start to figure out why: he was the first family member that I've personally known from a succeeding generation to die.

You see, Brian is my second cousin - as much younger than me than I am my older brother. His mother (my first cousin), was born roughly the same time as my Aunt Gwen. The last time I saw him he at roughly the same point in his life that my first nephew is now. I remember them discussing Pokemon or some such 10 years ago when they were both at my apartment after my knee surgery.

They reminded me of each other in ways...both given to shyness....but perhaps not really much more than the way I see my nephew in just about anybody I look at and think of as young.

It took days, weeks even maybe, to discern the emotion I was having. I knew him and we spent some time together, but I was closer to his older sister. More then despair there was this anger rooted in the idea that he was young. Perhaps I should say that he's young to me - despite the fact that he was 25. Because the last time I saw him, he was 18. So I think that's how I'll always think of him...

And rooted in that anger - or what the anger was rooted in  - was that I would never get to see the man he'd become/was becoming.

And in the more universal sense, it made me face in the way that none of us are comfortable with the prospect of our children dying and specifically for me my nephew. I'd known that it's hard to watch someone younger than you die; now I knew...KNOW what it feels like.


I suppose I should have put this up sooner than a month later, but it really did take me a while to be able to put into words how I felt about. Being lazy...I guess I was waiting for necessity to be the inventor.

(but was prolly just being my usual lazy self)

The inventor showed up when dealing with a bit of family discord. I'd been feeling a bit useless during the day before and of the funeral, not having/knowing anything to say to make it better, awkward in attempts at humor... Then some of that inevitable family discord showed up. And I just had to project my probiscus into it... the following was part of an attempt to quell it and in it I think I was finally able to express where I was or had been at for that past week:

I am Brian K. Lundy Jr.'s second cousin. I used to lived in Austin for four years, during which B and his family were my only family there - and for the first year the only people I knew there at all. I spent one summer with them. I helped teach Jos how to drive and helped B fix his bike. The three of us drove 500 miles to a family reunion where they met much of their extended family for the first time. He and I played ball (and won) against (people) hours before we had no idea we were related to. He helped me pull the interior of my car out. I helped him install a cd player in his first car. 

I am one of the people who goes back and forth between anger and sadness that he's gone...

So. I don't know. Maybe that says something. Maybe it only made sense to say in that moment. Maybe the strangeness I feel now putting it here doesn't compare to the first time I sent it.

Maybe this is all really just me yacking about me...looking for the internet to pat me on the back for so deep and personal.


Or maybe it just a long-@ss way of saying death has a funny way of letting you know who you love.


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