Saturday, May 11, 2024

drop by drop


My baby uncle, my mom's youngest sister's husband, was named for King Sibi who was willing to sacrifice his life for a dove. As a kid, I always imagined my uncle was kind.  

And he was. 

One of my earliest memories of him is as a newlywed trying to impress his new niblings (me and my cousins) with a party trick he'd learned at college. The objective was to drop a coin into a glass filled to the brim without spilling any water. 

My uncle would dip the coin into the glass, but then quickly withdraw it as if too nervous to actually let it go. He did this about four or five times and then finally released the coin into the water, where it sank without displacing a single drop of water. 

The "trick" was that every time he dipped the coin into the glass, he was removing a drop or two of water when he withdrew it--after doing this enough times, it became safe to release the coin because the glass was no longer as full. I think of this as the drop-by-drop method (like Anne Lamott's bird-by-bird, or AA's one day at a time)... an exercise in chipping things away through small and steady measures. 

My sister told me that our baby uncle died in a road accident today. The narrative arc between that newlywed trying to impress a gaggle of new niblings and today's news of dismemberment by an 18-wheeler makes no sense. It doesn't even seem real.

6 comments:

Gillian said...

Sad.

Nance said...

I'm so sorry, maya. It's so incredibly unfair.

Your memory of him--this specific one--is wonderful. It's very rich and says so much about him as a person. I'm glad you have it and shared it.

StephLove said...

I'm sorry you lost someone important to you.

maya said...

Thank you, Gillian, Nance, and Steph...

Nance--I keep getting older, but I really don't understand the concept of death.

Nicole said...

Oh, Maya, I am so sorry. What a terrible tragedy.

NGS said...

Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. A good reminder to all of us that life is so very fragile.

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