Saturday I attended the funeral for my cousin’s husband.
He was a dear, sweet, funny, remarkable man (he is on the left). He and my cousin had been married for 33 years and have two dear, sweet, funny, remarkable children (and they each have remarkable significant others, of course). My dear, sweet cousin is understandably devastated yet determined to move forward as best she can. This particular group of cousins is so dear and close to my heart. I guarantee you would love every single one of them. Their parents are my godparents. Their mom is one of my mom’s sisters. My aunt and uncle had six kids, and each of them has either a spouse or a significant other. The six kids provided my aunt and uncle with 12 grandchildren. Thus, when their clan gathers there were 26 of them. One of my cousins died a few years ago, so there were 25—and now 24. But oh how wondrous it is when they all get together.
I am so blessed by these amazing cousins, and my cousins in other locales as well. Including my cousins’ spouses and children: on my mom’s side there are 46 cousins; and on my dad’s side there are 83. Cousins are, indeed, forever friends.
So, to gather with any of them, even on a sad occasion is wondrous. It restores me. It renews me. It connects me to parts of myself that get neglected in my busy times. It moves me beyond preoccupation and worry to grace-filled moments. It is a piece of heaven. It is the “sit in a circle of chairs with my feet up and laugh about days gone by, discuss days that are now, and ponder the days that are yet to come”.
We are spread out in many cities and states; so we do not get the chance to gather often enough. I see these amazing men and women and know a few things: I am loved and cherished; I am accepted; I am amazed by how they handle life and their strength of faith. Sometimes I just sit (or stand) and observe the conversations around me and know—-God blesses us with the sublime and amazing times. They refresh us like the waves gently washing the shells on the shoreline, or like the feel of water on feet dangled from a dock.
I am sure you have had that sensation of being beside an ocean, river, lake, creek, stream, pond or even a puddle, and watched the water move. That movement could be from a breeze, the tides, a storm, a boat, or even moving your own hand through the water. There is something primal and reassuring/restorative in that water. Do you know what I mean by that? Gosh—if I am stressed or down, to get near water brings me joy. I pray, I reflect, and I notice: Wow—I am breathing again….it is almost like when I am dealing with difficulties or stress, I forget to breathe!!
My cousins and my collective history over the years reinforces my strength and helps me know that this next phase of my life will be just fine. God has given me cousins, friends (in my everyday life and in my blogging life). I needed a dock or a raft to rest upon after the recent upheavals and worries. That is what God gave me this past weekend: through the prayers and kind messages of each of you; and through the times with my cousins, aunt, and uncle. Those times with cousins, those prayers, kind comments, and supportive words were gentle tides washing the shells on my shore. They were the dock upon which I perched.
As a result, I was able to bring some strength to my cousin. Her adult children were amazing. Her son eulogized his dad in an extraordinary way—which set the standard for the day. Here is a photo of some of the cousins on Saturday. The guys with the grey hair are 2 of my first cousins. The rest are the children of my cousins–10 of the 12…one of the kids was taking the photo–and the other one was unable to attend. They are all so amazing…i am blessed…..
I am so sorry for your loss and so understand your feelings as well. We’ve lost either an aunt or an uncle each month of this year since January thru May (and prayerfully hope my dad isn’t Mr. June).
oh my gosh, Kathy. I am so very sorry to hear that. I have been praying for your dad and all of you. so sorry you have undergone so many losses this year…..each aunt or uncle that we all lose moves us closer to our own mortality….
This is so nice dear, to have a big family… They all seem so beautiful people… But you are too dear Kate. Family especially during in sadness, to come together and to share with you all… Thank you dear, Blessing and Happiness to you and to your family. My prayers for your cousin.
oh they truly are such beautiful people. thanks, Nia. It is/was so good to be able to come together. How affirming it is to be able to be there for each other in good times and difficult times. thanks for your kind words and your prayers.
I’m sorry to hear your sad news but happy to see how your family come together!
thanks, Gilly~i really appreciate your kind words. they are amazing people.
Family is the rock of our lives, you are blessed indeed, Kate!
You are so right about that, Marcia. Thanks — and i am richly and deeply blessed.
I am sorry to hear about this Kate. Terri
Thanks, Terri. Being with my extended family was a comfort to all of us.
So glad you are back! Things just weren’t the same!
thanks—i meant to call you before i left for the funeral—but it got really nuts with all the preparations, etc.
No problem. We were nuts, here, too. Attacks that have since gone away. 🙂
Glad the attacks went away, that’s for sure!
What a bittersweet moment for you all…the joy of being together and the tragedy of loss! I hope you are able to recalibrate your emotional balance. God bless you! Debra
Thanks, Debra—been a bit off my rhythm all week; not down, just kind of off. God bless you too 🙂
Dearest Kate- God Bless you sweetiheart, I am so sorry to hear about your beloved cousin. I am sad for you because you obviously are feeling such a loss.
How blessed you are to have the family you do. So many cousins makes me grin wider than ear to ear. I cannot imagine what that would be like. Me with my three male cousins. My two brothers and I make six.
I love the thought of your family reunions. Wow!
oh you ARE the petunia in the onion patch, aren’t you? 🙂 you the only girl amongst the guys! Yeh—cousin reunions are the blast of the ages…to look around the room during the wake and funeral and see all those faces—it sure gave me strength, but even more importantly, it gave my cousin and her children strength.
So very sorry to hear about your mom and your cousin. I’m certain you are a rock upon which those around you can lean…find respite…and comfort. God bless you, Kate, as you find your way through the darkness…and into the light. So many who love you will light the way…
…count me among them.
thanks, hugmamma. all around me–at the funeral, and each day before and since, any darkness is forever quelled by the light of love from the hearts filled with love and support all around me. I am grateful, as always, for your light and love. :=)