Death. It begins the moment of conception. Yet we understimate how unprepared we are for it once it arrives for us, much less for others. There were tears spilled worldwide for those who changed the world with their views: Michael Jackson and Steve Jobs, two that come to mind right now. Shouldn’t I be able to shed a tear for one that changed me?

He died, my cousin with the blond hair and blue eyes. I only got to spend time with him on two ocassions, both of them family trips we took to his side of Brazil to visit the rest of the family. I remember following him around everywhere, letting him take over the camcorder as we went around trying to say funny things about each one of our family members. I remember we used to argue because we were both born on the same day and I would tell him he had to respect me since I was his elder, as I was born 12 hours earlier than him. A few days later I’d go home and put his photo in my diary, with a heart around it and words below which said: “My cousin Guto.”

Guto, short for Augusto. I haven’t thought about his smile much at all since those days in grandma’s house, but it’s like it’s permanently burned on my brain now. He was always happy, always smiling. And the only time I saw him cry was when grandma died and his world started to collapse.

I paused when I read the news the only way I could: on facebook. Both a  tragedy and blessing to human connection, it was my only source of news yesterday morning when I stared in awe at the words on the computer screen: a heart attack. And just like that, another 25 year old soul is gone. I felt my eyes water up and my mind immediately told me not to cry.  I had only been with him twice in my life, both on short family trips. I barely knew him, after all. Right?

One day later and I haven’t cried yet. But I want to. I want to cry because he was my cousin, because he was young, and because I loved him even though I barely knew him. I want to cry because now he’s gone and I’ll never get a chance to see that smile and talk about our lives and our childhood mischief and make new memories to replace the old ones I keep playing in my mind over and over again since yesterday.

Death. We are always unprepared. We are always forgetting, always taking people for granted, always thinking life will last forever.

Never again. It’s time to cry.


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