May 28, 2009

My Counsin Todd


Early this morning, my cousin Todd died of a heart attack. He was 43 years old. This was not his first heart attack. He was scheduled for bypass surgery, but died before they had a chance to operate. I learned all this from my mom this morning.

I'm still sorting this all out. He's the oldest cousin on my mother's side of the family, and a good guy. His dad, my uncle Dave, died not that long ago also from a heart attack. Dave, too, had a long history of heart problems. And I learned today that my great-grandfather, my mom's grandfather Faulner, died from heart issues when he was young.

Todd was a janitor for the high school for a while, though I've lost track of him. I never spent much time with Todd because he was 13 years older than me, so we weren't particularly close. I can say he was a good man, and will be missed. We do have a few things in common, particularly size. Todd was big. Not just fat, which he certainly was, but tall, too. You'd expect him to be a power lifter or something else that requires that kind of bulk.

Right now, all I can think about is how this all affects me. I'm a selfish, hateful prick, I know. But, when my mom told me that Todd died, she was crying, telling me to keep losing the weight, keep riding the bike that she was on the phone, crying about me and my weight and, what if...

When I was a kid, I used to joke with myself that I'd never get as big as Todd, and if I did, maybe I should just kill myself. And you know, I did get that big, bigger than Todd probably because he lost weight for a while, too. And now Todd's gone from a heart attack, and I'm sad, yes. He's leaving behind a girlfriend, as I don't think they were married and he was married once before. No children of his own.

But, I can't stop thinking about myself right now and this isn't about me. I mean, I don't even know if I want to go to the funeral because I know what I'll hear, the looks I'll get. Even the "attaboys" for losing weight wouldn't feel right there. I don't want that, and I hate myself that I'm thinking like this and feeling like this right now.

I'm still sorting all this out.


update 5/29...Todd's funeral will be a week from tomorrow and I will not be going for all the reasons stated above.

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