Life slowed down enough today for me to reflect a little on the past few days. Sadly, one of those reflections brings feelings of deep sorrow. When I was a young teenager, my cousin married a young girl I fell in love with the first day I met her. My mother loved her too which I'm sure influenced me a bit. This is a picture of me and him at his Mom's grave side service in 2004. My Aunt had called me from her home in Florida several months before she got sick and came home. It was Dink who called me from the hospital to let me know she had come back home, when she got very sick and when she died. She was my Dad's youngest sister and divorced so we saw her more often than most of the other Aunts and Uncles on Daddy's side of the family. My Dad's Mom lived with us off and on during my youth and they would come to visit her there. I remember him always being a part of my childhood. Once we grew up - we saw little of each other as it usually goes in families. When they first got married, they lived in one of the big old homes downtown that had been turned into apartments. One night they came over to our house and when they got ready to leave, asked me to go home and spend the night with them. That was pretty exciting for a teenager (they were a few years older then me but she was a teenager too). That old house had very tall ceilings and no heat and it was freezing cold! Finally my cousin and his wife felt so sorry for me laying on the sofa alone with their one blanket (I think they heard my teeth chattering and they were freezing too) so that they asked me to jump in their bed with them. Boy - they didn't have to ask twice - I was only about 14 so we really were kids but my dumb cousin made a stupid joke about having two women in his bed when in all reality - he had two "girls" in his bed. I'll have to say Dink was a lot warmer than Gene and I were because she was in the middle. She finally asked why we kept turning over and we all died laughing because he and I were turning over to get the other side of our bodies warm against her. I don't think anyone got much sleep and we were up and out of there on the way home to Mama's for breakfast early if I recall correctly. After that - their lives went in the separate direction
of working and being parents to two beautiful babies and I finished school. We lost touch after they separated and divorced but would still see each other at family functions - until I ran into her one day out in service. The kids and I would drop in every so often when we were on that side of town and I got to see her kids a little that way. Dink called me this past week to let me know her beautiful 47 year old son died suddenly of a heart attack last Sunday. I know she was in shock and just calling everyone she could think of to tell them the horrific news. This sweet girl had found out about my cancer when she called some one and was in double shock and that made me feel so sad because she kept apologizing and I haven't really been able to be there for her at all. I was looking at his obituary on-line tonight and realized he was born on my birth date when I turned 18. I just can't get them out of my mind. When I read some of the comments about him - I think I would have liked him a lot. His sister is beautiful like her Mom isn't she? I'll always feel sad my children didn't get to know this part of my family and that we weren't close any longer. I'll always feel happy Dink came in my life and that something clicked with us that has endured more years apart than closely together. I pray she will find a measure ofof peace as time passes. From the things I've read and heard, he was well loved by those who knew him and had a happy life. I look forward to feeling better so that soon, I'll be able to see her and know for myself she is doing okay.