People Underestimate the Value of a Good Ramble

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Some good did come from the two days of wake and funeral for my cousin Judy, and that was getting to see my cousin Jeffrey again. Jeff and I are only a year apart in age and we grew up together. He is actually my first cousin once removed (the child of my first cousin) but our close age and the closeness of our families at that time meant that we were together a lot. We stood up together in my sister's wedding (I was 6 and he was 5), and spent many weekends at my aunt's cottage on the lake. Jeff and his parents moved to Connecticut when he was 11 and I hadn't seen him in over 30 years. In all that time, I had always remembered him and thought of all the fun we'd had as children. From the moment we saw each other across the room, there was that flash of recognition and we spent the time together, afraid to let each other out of sight. The amazing part was that he remembered me the same way I remembered him.

Back in the 70's, when they moved away, pre-teens didn't have a lot of options to staying in contact. You could write letters, sure, but who really did that? You could call on the phone, but the cost of long-distance calls was an issue. Now, we can communicate so much more easily, through calls, texting, email, skype, twitter, facebook. This time, I have all his contact info and I plan to use it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Death and Memories

My cousin died and we buried her on Thursday. She's the first of my generation to die. There was a very nice write up about her in our local paper.

The funeral was sad, as most are, but made even sadder by the fact that her 87 year old mother was sitting in the front row. Instead of a standard service, the family chose to have certain songs played between prayers. Before one song her husband told a story. Judy had been suffering from dementia for some time. She didn't always remember who she was talking to or what she was talking about, but she remembered all the words to her favorite songs. He would put the songs on and she would sing along. The song he played then was "The Way We Were" and everyone was in tears. In the quiet moment after the song, I heard my little 2 year old great niece whimpering softly, upset by all the weeping around her.

When my sister told her husband to let us know if there was anything he needed, anything at all, he said, "Bring her back."