So much death in such short a time is hard. Lately I’ve been working myself into exhaustion so as not to deal with it. But today, for just a moment as I was clearing my text messages, I saw the last conversation I had with my cousin.
We discussed a lot, our lives, jobs, children and faith. It had been years since we had really talked about anything meaningful. She was born two months after me, and my cousin Vanessa was born two months after her.
The three of us grew up together almost as siblings. Always moving in with each other as children and youth. My cousin Vanessa and I were exceptional, gifted. Audrie always felt she was the odd one out. While we breezed through school with little to no effort, she struggled and eventually dropped out.
We were close still, until adulthood changed us all in ways none of us could have seen. Audrie took after her mother and got onto drinking drugs and abusive relationships. Vanessa chose to walk way from the stigma of our bloodline and distance herself from the family, as did I.
And while I reached out to Audrie often, rarely did I get a reply. And when I managed to go to a family function, more often than not it would end in some type of conflict. Without ever meaning too, I cut severed the bond between my Audrie and I. Simply because she chose the life of our family over being better.
I don’t regret that completely. My family after all are mostly bad people. Abusive alcoholics, druggies, gang members, or worse. I chose a different path.
But in our last conversation, I realized I had wasted years away because I didn’t think them capable of change. But change she did. I found my cousin again, my sister. And while there is so much I still wish we could do together, talk about and see. I am ok with what happened.
And for the first time since we laid my beloved sister to rest, I allowed myself to fully feel what happened and accept it. I am still mourning, and that’s ok.