The last several months have been a whirlwind. Lots of twists and turns. Like a roller coaster, twists and turns in life can be fun and exciting and others make you appreciate life.
Back in April a cousin reconnected with me. I was grateful. I had previously found his email address and tried to make a connection several years ago and then - nothing. Email address was gone and I didn't know where to find him. So April comes and I get a facebook request - but he had already friended me a long time ago - I didn't believe it was him.
But it was. And then we began a journey of reconnecting and loving and remembering. He is my next oldest cousin - only 6 years my senior and we shared some great memories and he was in my wedding. I hadn't seen him since 1989 when our grandmother died. She was the glue of our family and when she died we all unglued from each other. It was painful and sad to not see my cousins. So being in contact with him was wonderful, but time was of the essence because he was in hospice care with a lung disease. And this is the next turn.
My sweet cousin died last weekend and I had to say another good-bye. At his service, I learned about the joyful life he lived and saw the grief and tears of his friends and caregivers. He was loved. I saw the gray on his head. I comforted his sister and received comfort from his brother. I was with family and my heart was jointly full and constantly emptying - if that makes any sense. I learned of his love for Jesus and his church. I learned he learned to love vegetables.
Another cousin, his brother, reminded me so much of my sister that I felt a sense of longing and regret simultaneously. I heard him sing and thought of my mother. I saw my cousins' children who looked so much like their beautiful grandmother I had twinges of deep sadness. Okay. More than twinges - deep deep painful cuts because she is the relative I miss the most.
I have decided to not let this happen again. I will not be separated from my family - even if I have to be the one to make sure we stay together. We need each other. We need to share laughter, tears, and memories. We need to make more memories and get together at times other than a funeral.