Monday, November 03, 2014
I went with my eldest daughter to an open house at a university on Saturday.
The hours were full of questions, answers, tours, etc.
After that, we went for a late lunch and I got a call from my Mom.
My Dad's cousin, who I dearly loved, passed away.
This was an unexpected death, but I have to also let you guys know, that she had the same name as me and I have another cousin with my name.
My first reaction was, "WHAT!" on the phone. My Mom was upset and flustered and she went on to explain that my cousin was sick for a month and was admitted finally in the hospital on the 29th and now she's gone. During all of that, I thought it was my cousin from up North. We don't hear from that side of the family much, but when she mentioned the name of the hospital...It hit me again as to which cousin it was.
I again said, "WHAT!"
Basically, I while Mom was explaining things, she didn't clarify which cousin, let alone, it's amazing how a person can start thinking one thing and then have to stop and change gears and realize, it's the one you were closest with.
I got off the phone and informed my daughter what just happened.
Her reaction was the same as mine.
We both had to try and keep it together in the restaurant, and then we went to Michael's (a craft store) because I was too emotional to drive. I wasn't bawling my eyes out, but I was so close to tears and I just didn't think it would be a good idea to drive for an hour straight, while I was processing this.
I want to tell you about my cousin.
Phyllis was older than me. Her eldest child is four years younger than I. She was divorced, raising three children on her own, grumpy and impatient. This is my first major memory of her. I knew of her, didn't see much of her as a child, but when I was upgrading and living with her parents for a semester, her children came over after school and we had a grand time. Talking, laughing, learning, singing, playing the piano and such. Then Phyllis would come and get them and was short with them and me.
Yet, after a few years of not running into her when I moved out, we saw each other again.
This time, her youngest was moving away. Going to a University in the States. I was happy for her daughter and said to Phyllis, "You must be happy that she's grown and leaving and starting a life of further education."
She looked right at me and said, "Why would I be happy? She's leaving. I'm going to be alone, with no children. I will worry about her and my others for the rest of my life. I won't be able to talk to them everyday. I will never be a constant part of their lives, ever again."
Her words struck me. I was married by then with two little ones. I never thought of that before and she made me realize a few things. I knew I would never have my children with me for the rest of my life. I knew I would have to let them go, but what I didn't fully realize until then, was how much my parents must have missed me when I left too.
After that, whenever there was a family reunion, a get together or sadly a funeral. Phyllis and I always hugged each other, looked for each other and comforted each other.
I always looked past her flaws and I'm sure she did mine.
I know it was her, that grabbed my elbow, as I walked alone after my Mom, Brother and Sister as we followed Dad's casket out of the church. I started to break down, as I was walking, let out a sob, and then a hand grabbed my elbow. My elbow and she gave me her strength to walk on.
My Phyllis, my Phyllis.
I will miss you so very much.