At vynehorn's suggestion, today we had a "feast for the death of a bard" to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death - with a shout out to Cervantes. I entirely blew the planning on this one, but managed to pull together a bunch of people, a bunch of food, and a pile of Shakespeare movies, some of which were actually watched. Mostly people hung out, talked, and ate food. It was a good day. I had a good day, and I hope others did also.
Most of the crowd had gone home when my dad called. My cousin David drowned last night. He'd been a chemist for Pharmacia, before they were acquired by Pfizer. When Pfizer took over, they told him that that were taking his lab away because he didn't have a PhD, and only PhDs could have a lab - despite his having done the job for years. Since then, he's been competitively sailing semi-professionally (crew, not owner.) He loved being out on the water, and aspired to retire someday and live on his boat.
Like all the males in my family, he was also a drunk.
There's a reason I don't drink. At all. My family *is* the history of "genetic pre-disposition to alcoholism." It seems to only be the males. My father. All three of my (male) cousins on that side of the family. I believe, all of my grandfather's brothers. From what I hear, my great-grandfather. My paternal grandfather was a teetotaler, and that just seemed the better course for me. Someday I will tell Charlotte why any sons of her can never, EVER drink.
Dad has been on the wagon since 1985 or 1986 now, and if he's slipped, I've never heard about. My cousins haven't been so lucky. They've all fallen off the wagon many times - they seem to think that they can drink "occasionally." David would call dad, and dad would tell him what he needed to do, but it never really took. I guess yesterday he was working on the boat (it's not in the water yet,) went to pub afterwards, and fell off the breakwater. I'm just assuming he was drunk - if he wasn't, I owe his memory an apology. They still have ice in the water up there (Wisconsin - Lake Superior,) so even assuming there was no other trauma, it wouldn't have taken long. The boat owner found him about midnight. Being an accidental death, there will be an autopsy.
He and I haven't been close - my dad's family live in Minnesota, and we lived in New York state, and then Connecticut. I last saw him at his brother's wedding in... 2004. Before that, he came out for our wedding in 1999, and before that was the last Christmas with my grandparents in 1985. So... yeah - not close. But he was delighted to come to our wedding, and so happy for me. When we were children, I admired him - he was two years older than I was, and I thought he was wonderful. I remember him letting me ride his bike one summer when we were visiting, which meant that he didn't have a bike to ride.
I'm sure my mom is broken up right now, because she'll be remembering when my brother died. We're not supposed to bury our children.
He was family. He was part of my childhood. He was a good man. I hope he is at peace.
Goodbye David. Requiēscat in pāce.