Our family is not a large one, especially on my mother's side.
My mother had one sister, Louise, who died almost a year ago. She was the mother of cousins Lowie and Harry.
I have two brothers and am the eldest of all the cousins (on my mother and father's side), we have all retained a nice relationship over the years. Lowie and I, in particular, only two years apart, are more like sisters than first cousins. At least we fought like sisters growing up. She still tells the story of when I smacked her with a hairbrush one night. Lies, all lies. But when I remember the 4th of July or Christmas Eve, I remember us all being together, laughing, eating, and laughing some more. Discussions always got a little loud because in Italian families, if someone doesn't agree with you, they obviously didn't hear you...
I'm sure you all realize how much a double-edged sword love is. With all these wonderful memories comes the other side of the blade: the pain of loss. As I write this my cousin Harry, four years younger than I, and two years younger than his sister, lay dying in a Philadelphia cancer center. Diagnosed about a year ago, he was doing well, responding to chemo until about three weeks ago. The cancer has infiltrated and decimated his nervous system and spread pretty much throughout his body. The good news is that he can not feel pain as the cancer cells have attacked the pain center. The bad news is that they cannot even move him to a hospice as they had planned to do today, because he would not survive the trip.
And so we deal with the grief, celebrate the love, and go about our lives, our family a little smaller, our memories more precious.
- I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.