Late at night. My aunt’s house. I’ve agreed to sit up with my cousin and wait for her uncle from the other side of the family who is flying in from Washington state. He’s arriving at Harrisburg airport just before midnight and then renting a car to drive the 40 minutes to my aunt’s house. My parents and I drove over that day from Pittsburgh, the culmination of a 1500 mile trip from where we live in Florida. I’m exhausted, though I barely did any of the driving.
The call comes. The uncle wasn’t able to rent a car. He’s going to take a taxi from the airport. My cousin offers to drive and pick him up. My aunt demurs. My cousin insists. My aunt asks if I’ll go with her. I remember that earlier in the day my dad offered to pick the uncle up, and I start to say that he might go along. Then I think about how long he drove that day, and the one before that, and the one before that. I think about what time it is, and what time we’ll have to leave. I think about why we are here. I say yes, I’ll go along.
This is exactly why we’ve come all this way, not just to spend time with my uncle whose remaining days with us are limited, but also to support the rest of the family and do what we can to help each other through this. It seems like a small thing, helping someone navigate to the airport, but at the time it was what I could offer.