Friday, November 20, 2015

Cousin

So I have this cousin...

Let me back up...
I have a mom. Her family was close to another family. The Kelley family. My mom was best friends with the oldest child. That oldest girl grew up and married my mom's youngest brother. This is how she became my Aunt Gail. Aunt Gail has two sisters. Because our families were close I grew up knowing them as aunts as well. Aunt Sharon and Aunt Karen.

Those aunts had children. I grew up knowing we weren't biologically related but like my brothers are just simply brothers, despite their "half" status, these cousins were just cousins despite the "in-law/by marriage" status.

We spent many holidays together. But they were all younger and super close with one another so, really, I was cousin adjacent. Along with my actual cousins, all of them are good natured, loving people, of whom I still get to see each Christmas Eve when I crash their holiday celebration.

Being this weird extroverted introvert I find these gatherings both wonderful and exhausting. I feel a bit shell shocked afterwards but it is totally worth it. You will never find a more loving, fun, awesome crowd. They, to one another, are "The Cousins." I feel lucky to be able to have my adjacent status. It's a pretty cool thing to bear witness to.

Well, one of the cousins, Carmen, left this world last night. In her passing a whole lot of hearts are hurting. And I hurt for them as much as the loss of her presence in this world.

I can't say we were terribly close, but I can say I care very much about her (present tense, I still care). I always thought she was "so cool" even though she was several years my junior. And more recently, she reached out when I was dealing with some of the darkest of my depression. I wasn't in the space at the time to turn it into a real conversation, but rest assured that it stuck with me and it meant a lot.

My heart has been heavy this last week while she was in the hospital. Yeah, she is who I was vaguebooking about, and who I was talking about in asking for prayers/thoughts/love/healing.

And as for "The Cousins", please don't hesitate to ask for anything. I want to be supportive of you. I love you guys. I really do. Thank you for letting me be cousin-adjacent.

And the rest of the family, Aunties and others, the same goes for you. Please let me be there for you. Reach out, to me, or to someone else. But reach out all the same.

(And I know you're all awesome friends out there, and loving but this isn't me needing sympathy. It's just me speaking from this soft, squishy part hidden beneath my rib bones. All that intent, please send it to my family, they'll need it in the days to come.)

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