My uncle has been on my mind a lot lately, understandably so. With his passing, it really brings to light the question of what life is all about. My uncle was so much like my dad, living a cliche and embracing outdated stereotypes that only seemed to result in dissatisfaction and imbalance. My uncle and my dad were both stereotypical males, meaning that they had some firmly held beliefs in what a man's place was in the universe. Because of this, not only did they struggle to maintain what they perceived was their proper place in the grand scheme of things, but they concurrently denied what might have been they're true calling in life. The disharmony that ensued spilled over into all aspects of their lives, adversely affecting not only themselves, but us, their families, as well.
It's a shame, because I know what it's like struggling to maintain a persona of something you really aren't. My brother's entire life is about this, and as a result, he lives a life of hell. I embraced this for much of my life, being a jock and a frat boy, and all the while, I was miserable. But at least I had some credibility amongst my peers, whatever the hell that means.
Either way, it made life difficult on all of us. It was almost as if our parents took to heart the cliches they had learned from popular media and took them to the extreme, or to the point of caricature. In other words, if being a man meant being distant and independent, they took that to mean that being a real man and father meant being a jerk to your kids. Not only was it acceptable, but it was expected of you, and as a result, bridges were burned and countless years were lost between us.
The tragic consequence of all this is that there is so much we never learned about each other, and with my uncle's passing, we'll never know. In my father's last years, he wanted nothing more than to reach out and connect with his two sons, but it was difficult, if not impossible, after years of having it crushed and spit out because it wasn't considered a man's place to have feelings amongst one another or be sensitive to each other's feelings.
What a shame.
Until the next time, thanks for reading.