On the Eve of Tragedy, a Broken Band

“Remember!”

It is a popular word used for nearly everything, from the mundane to the eternally meaningful. We are urged to remember such things as the Alamo, the 5th of November, and the “Titans”. We are encouraged to remember to vote, to do our homework, and to recycle appropriately. Most of all we are called to remember those we’ve lost and those we’ve loved. Tonight I remember Tim.

Tomorrow designates the anniversary of a day that I, at times, wish to forget. It is the day my cousin Tim was hit and killed by an inebriated bus driver. Even now with tears in my eyes, just as I did then, I laugh at the irony of the situation.

You see, Tim had a blood clotting condition which led to heart complications when he was 18 years old. He suffered multiple strokes and was in and out of the hospital until he was 22. He lost a lot of cognitive abilities in those years and had to re-learn many things. But instead of being discouraged, Tim was enthralled by life. Frustrated, at times, yes, but nonetheless enthralled. It was as if God pressed the reset button on his mind, yet in doing so, instilled a fiery unmatchable passion.

He lived life as if it were a gift, a precious fragile gift that had almost perished. And therein lies the irony. In true cliché form, Tim lived life as if any moment he could walk across the street and get hit by a bus, and then… he got hit by a bus.

As much as do not find what happened or how it happened or why it happened the slightest bit comical, I laugh at the little things, as I’m sure he would too if he were here. He was one of the main reasons I continued to travel as I did. He inspired me to live life preciously. He is probably one of the main reasons I moved to Abu Dhabi.

After Tim’s funeral, my brother gave me a black wristband. “Remember Tim always!” he told me. We were supposed to wear it to remind us of Tim’s love for us and his love for life, so that we would never forget to have either. A few months back, nearly four years after his passing, it broke.

I knew the day would come when the rubber material would thin and the bond would grow too weak to hold on, however, I was apprehensive of that day. Yet when the day finally came, it did not sadden me as I thought it would. It seems I was ready. Try as we may to buy trinkets and get tattoos to help us remember, our lost loved ones do not remain wrapped around our necks, or our ankles, or our wrists. No, they are wrapped around our hearts. They travel with us as we love those around us, as we see the world, and as we enjoy this precious gift of life we’ve been given.

My cousin Timothy died the night of May 7th, 2011 at the age of 29, but he has not, nor will he ever, pass away. Because on this night, and every other night, though the dark band may be broken, I remember his light.

In Memory of Timothy McShain White