Soaring of the Bald Eagle-A Memorial

Soaring of the Bald Eagle-A Memorial to Jeff McGlone

 

Losing a loved one is never easy. People all have different methods of coping. Grief takes many forms. My cousin Jeff McGlone left us earlier this week. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact he’s gone. So, I do what I know, I write:

In the eye of a hurricane there is quiet

For just a moment

A yellow sky

I wrote my way out

Wrote everything down as far as I could see

I wrote my way out

-from Hurricane

-Hamilton: An American Musical

-by Lin-Manuel Miranda

 

Losing my cousin is akin to Alexander Hamilton’s survival of a hurricane. I’m still being battered about and I’m seeking the eye for that moment of quiet. The only way for me to survive is to write my way out. I know no other way to honor the man that was my cousin.

Seeing his Obituary online brought it all into stark perspective:

JeffObituary

Died: Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Jeffrey “Jeff” Leon McGlone, of Covington, passed away at the age of 50 on Oct. 20.  He was born at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn, Ohio, on May 7, 1965. He graduated from Minford High School in Minford, Ohio — where he played football and basketball and ran cross-country — in 1983 and went on to earn a degree in plastic engineering from Ohio University. A Covington resident since 1999, Jeff was an avid fan of the eight-time national champion Ohio State University football team and the five-time Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys and he enjoyed barbecuing in his free time. A born-again Christian who loved God, he coached in the Newton County Youth Softball League for more than a decade and spent seven years as the league’s commissioner. Remembered as a loving and caring son, brother, husband and father . . .

I have to say reading that made me smile. Mention of the Dallas Cowboys and OSU football would have made Jeff smile too. But, there was so much more to the man and one paragraph alone is not enough to honor the time I was blessed to have him in my life.

As the years went by, we drifted apart When I heard that he was gone I felt a shadow cross my heart

-from Nobody’s Hero a song by Rush

-Lyrics by Neil Peart

I regret the inevitability that as adults with families of our own I didn’t see, or talk to my dear cousin as much as I would have liked. I do, however, take comfort in the fact that the last message we exchanged on Facebook I told him I loved him. Not many of us are blessed with those being the last words uttered to those we care about before they pass.

Jeff was five years older than me. He’s always been a part of my life. He is one of the first friends I ever remember. Jeff was definitely one of the first best friends I ever had as a boy. And best of all, he was my cousin.

Jeff never treated me like an annoying little cousin. I never really thanked him for that, but I never had to. I always loved him like the brother I never had. He always was like my older brother, and always will be.

So many little pieces of my heart and mind were influenced by my cousin, and I’m sure he never realized it. I never thanked him for that either, but again, I didn’t have to. Jeff showed me the joy of playing with Hot Wheels cars. Jeff taught me how to play chess. He taught me how to play Stratego. My love of games derives from the many, many hours we played games together as children, and I’ve been able to share that love of games with my children.

I was never able to beat Jeff at Stratego. I never admitted that, but he always knew, and we could always laugh about it. What I wouldn’t give to lose one more game of Stratego to him now?

Jeff introduced me to baseball cards and comic books. We grew up together cheering on the Big Red Machine in the 1970s and the Dallas Cowboys. My love and fascination of superheroes came from Jeff. I’m glad we saw Iron Man and The Avengers properly brought to life on the big screen even if we didn’t get to view them together. We shared a love for Star Wars as children that carried through our entire lives and I know we both proudly imparted the importance of that mythology to our children.

Jeff was there when I graduated from High School, and Law School. He was there when I got married. He will forever dwell in my heart. He touched my life in more ways than I can fathom, and for that I am forever thankful.

Grasping to make sense of this grievous loss I turned to many words of wisdom, and found little that helped. The world simply didn’t have enough time with Jeff in it:

 

“To what shall I compare this life of ours? Even before I can say: it is like a lightning flash or a dewdrop, it is no more.”

-Sengai

Ah! Summer grasses!

All that remains of the warrior’s dreams.

-Basho

My wish for my dear cousin comes from the closing lines of the musical Les Miserables:

 

Fantine: Come with me

Where chains will never bind you

All your grief at last at last behind you

Lord in heaven, look down on him in mercy!

Valjean: Forgive me all my trespasses

And take me to your glory

Eponine & Fantine: Take my hand, and lead me to salvation

Take my love, for love is everlasting

(Valjean joins) And remember the truth that once was spoken To love another person is to see the face of God!

Be at peace ever more my friend, my brother, my cousin. Finally, I simply don’t have the proper words to express the void losing Jeff McGlone has left in my life. For that, I have to turn to the master, Neil Peart from Rush:

 

Vapor Trail

By Rush

Lyrics: Neil Peart

Stratospheric traces of our transitory flight

Trails of condensation held in narrow bands of white

The sun is turning black

The world is turning gray

All the stars fade from the night

The oceans drain away

Horizon to Horizon memory written on the wind

Fading away, like an hourglass, grain by grain

Swept away like voices in a hurricane

In a vapor trail

Atmospheric phases make the transitory last

Vaporize the memories that freeze the fading past

Silence all the songbirds

Stilled by the killing frost

Forests burn to ashes

Everything is lost

Washed away like footprints in the rain

In a vapor trail

Afterimage

By Rush

Lyrics by Neil Peart

Suddenly —

You were gone

From all the lives

You left your mark upon

I remember —

How we talked and drank Into the misty dawn —

I hear the voices

We ran by the water

On the wet summer lawn —

I see the foot prints I remember —

— I feel the way you would

— I feel the way you would

Tried to believe

But you know it’s no good

This is something

That just can’t be understood

I remember —

The shouts of joy

Skiing fast through the woods —

I hear the echoes

I learned your love for life

I feel the way that you would —

I feel your presence

I remember —