When I was growing up my mother had a small group of cousins that all had children around the same age as me. These women did all things kid related together. This was the 80's so you have to imagine they were yuppies. They took us to the Poconos and to Sesame Place several times a year. They had elaborate birthday and Halloween parties for the children. We had huge Easter egg hunts and Fourth of July barbecues. And in between major events we just had sleepovers. Those cousins were like my siblings. They were a part of the fabric of my childhood. All of my major childhood memories involves one or all of them. One of them is the cousin who recently died.
Because my cousin was in Germany when she passed, the funeral wasn't held until nearly two weeks later. Which meant that the service didn't have that raw emotional element that it would have had if we were burying a 31 year old mother of of two young children just a few days after her demise. We had all had time for the knowledge to sink in. We had already argued with God, asked why, realized that there was no explanation and tried to develop a strategy for moving on. The service was more like a celebration of her memory and a time to see faces that we haven't seen in years. Of course, this is all from the extended family's perspective. Her mother, father, daughters and husband (married only two years! can you imagine?), I'm sure, are still in a state of shock and despair that they will be dealing with for the rest of their lives.
Though it was a sad occasion, it was really good to see so much of my family that I haven't seen or talked to in years. I guess it's true what they say about funerals and weddings.I am really going to make the effort to not get so caught up in the little things and really think about life from a big picture perspective. Family is important. I wish I had learned this lesson before I lost my cousin.