My Cousin Gabriel’s Life Lesson Emotional Empathy is a Powerful Driver of Action
Eyes closed but soul wide open. Determination to keep his life value despite the grim reaper’s charge.
DEATH WEARS AN IRONIC GRIN
My cousin confronts a cancer sickle with a smirk, a grin, and a middle finger all at once.
He is still the same person I always knew. We grew up together. My cousin Gabriel would come from New York to visit us here in Florida. We had sand lot baseball games, summertime W.W.E. wrestling matches and all-night family gatherings. As adults we had a break in time but childhood bonds last.
I remember Gabriel as the sarcastic, say what you mean, and hold no punches guy. Gabriel’s spirit was always this way. He never brooked bull shit and wouldn’t have it now. He was a dedicated man all his life. He inherited his father’s work ethic. No one would take away his determination to output more than the next person.
Apparently even a doctor giving days to live wouldn’t remove his sarcastic smile.
I’m happy to know him.
THE STRUGGLE TO BE WHERE I NEED TO BE
I brazed a possible COVID exposure to come to my cousin’s bedside. I dealt with emotional insensitivity from my former spouse. I traversed over a thousand miles to stand beside him. I answered difficult questions from my daughter for missing our weekend.
I received no support from her mother to ease her feelings. I dealt with slighted remarks about irresponsibility. I listened to her insult me over trying to be at my dying family member’s bedside. I watched a forced finalization of our divorce occur without regard to the state of my emotional well being. I’m past the point of caring. I left her and the one action of leaving will always foster revenge over anything.
That is reality and I accept it.
It’s over and done with. I am happy that book is forever closed. Never to reopen again.
Time to pick up a new novel.
I vowed despite the hurt and difficulty of anticipating her use of death to lessen me in our child’s eyes…I would endure all of it to tell my cousin I loved him.
The world has a way of writing the wrongs people inflict upon us. I trust in my God to do so. I hold my image where it should be.
I will complete my mission.
ARRIVING WHERE I NEED TO BE
Travelling to the hospital I thought of what I would say. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. When I arrived at his bedside, I watched him struggle to breathe. I looked at how much weight he lost. He looked so different. Gone were the extra 35 pounds making him look imposing.
Every breath seemed a labor. I spoke with my family there. We laughed. We reminisced about things. We tried not to address the inevitable.
Then his eyes glinted open. Just a crack. One of my cousins spoke about my brother and I coming. Then his liquid chicken broth came. He wasn’t yet strong enough to speak. His eyes remained closed mostly. His energy was spent only to shake or nod what he wanted.
He seemed to be storing for something. Like he wanted to accomplish something. One of my cousins brought him water. He needed a drink. She tried to give it to him. He wouldn’t have it. He was determined to do it himself. They moved the bed to an upright position. His eyes opened.
I thought…here is a champion. Here is a person willing to deny the grim reaper any pleasure. In his weakness he would show great strength.
I said the first thing I could think, “Hey Papa you look like a Champ.”
With tenacity of being his sarcastic self he said, “Yeah a broken one.”
We laughed. Then the room became quiet. I knew what I needed to say. I came all this way. I dealt with so much. This might be my last time speaking to him. My words mattered. They would etch into eternity and become part of his last record. This might be the last thing I say to him.
So, I walked to his bedside. His eyes fluttered. Then they came open. I thought of what I wanted to say. Then I said it. “Cousin. I love you.”
He mustered up all his energy to keep from going unconscious. Then he said, “I love you too fam…”
THE PRIMER TO MY DRIVER
His last words to me created the most powerful feeling of overwhelming emotion. I felt the rush of tears. I felt the burning fire of sadness. All at once. I held fast. He was convinced he would live. I would not let the truth show in my face. I excused myself.
I walked into the hallway.
Then I cried.
After I let it out, I took in a deep breath. I composed myself. I got a grip. I went back into the room. I laughed and made jokes about the Dallas Cowboys and Giants. His face was aware. He looked at me. Our eyes knew what was in our hearts.
It is like I could see it in his eyes. He saw me. Here I was. I was a person who came halfway across the country, risked pandemic exposure, dealt with challenging life situations and still I came. I came to do one thing.
To profess words. Words do matter. Talk isn’t cheap.
FIND YOUR DRIVER TO HURDLE TOUGH OBSTACLES
Aside from the outpour what is the point of this article? Everyone has a driver. You need a driver to overcome challenges. The challenges I faced were daunting. The consequences I would endure undesirable. Despite all these things I realized a truth about myself.
Emotional Empathy is my driver to accomplish all great things.
So now my cousin Gabriel will live on more than just memory. Every action I do will carry something from him. When I become a great author he will have a part in it.
Everyone needs a driver to overcome barriers. Logic and reasoning are not enough. Sit down and think. We all need a driver to hurdle us over the wall life builds.
Mine is emotional empathy. This is my driver for life now. God made it where Gabriel is my awareness of Emotional Empathy. Let’s see how far it takes me.
I see it as clear as day.
What is your driver? Do you know what pushes you over that last stretch of a race? Do you know what propels you after you’re out of breath? Do you know what makes your feet move when they hurt? Find your driver! Discover how to become the brave hero you always admired as a child.
Find the driver you need to overcome that which seeks to bury you.
To your knowledge success!
About Christopher: Christopher Knight Lopez is a Professional Entrepreneur. Christopher has opened over 7 businesses in his 14-year career. Christopher’s purpose is to take advantage of various market-driven opportunities. Christopher is a certified Master Project Manager (MPM), Master Financial Planner (MFP) and Accredited Financial Analyst (AFA). Christopher previously held his Series 65 securities license examination. Christopher also has his General Lines — Life, Accident, Health & HMO. Christopher has managed a combined 286mm USD in reported Assets Under Management & Assets Under Advisement. Christopher has work experience in 29 countries, raised over 50mm USD for various businesses, and grossed over 8.0mm in his personal career. Christopher worked in the highly technical industries of: biotechnology, finance, securities, manufacturing, real estate, and residential mortgages. Christopher is a United States Air Force Veteran. Christopher has a passion for family, competitive sports, fishing, martial arts and advocacy for entrepreneurs. Christopher provides self-help classes for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Christopher’s passion to mentor comes from belief that entrepreneurs need guidance. The world is full of conflicting information about entrepreneur identity. See more at www.christopherklopez.com.