Back in March, I was horrified to discover that my uncle had died and I didn’t hear about it until a week after the funeral. I don’t read the local paper daily and my mother used to be the one who let us know about deaths (and births and marriages, etc) in the family. Since my mother died in January, I really hadn’t thought about it until I missed my uncle’s funeral.
Every morning since then, when I first turn on the computer, I have made it a habit to read the paper’s on-line obituaries. I have seen a couple of people I “knew of” by name but didn’t really know in person. That’s been the extent of it – until last week.
Last Wednesday, I saw a name in the town where I grew up – the next town over to where I live now. The last name was the same as one of my cousins, so I read on. Sadly, it was my cousin’s daughter who had died.
J.C. had been born in 1971 with a world of troubles – Spina Bifida and other problems. She lived to be 37. That is amazing, in itself. But she lived life with fun and joy, in spite of her limitations, which is more than can be said for many who are able bodied. Her death was only remotely related to her disabilities – choking on vomitus – or who knows how long she would have lived to inspire those around her with her infectious laugh.
Because I had perused the obits, I was able to go to the wake and funeral to show support for my cousin. My sister, surprisingly, did not show up at the funeral on Saturday – I have no idea why not. I know I made my mother smile by being there “in her place.”
My cousin is my cousin on my father’s side – his mother and my father were siblings. But we were never really close. He’s 4 years older than I am and after my father died, when I was 12, we saw little of his large family. Today, the family joke is that we only see each other for weddings and funerals. It isn’t really funny, because it’s true.
I’m glad that my obituary reading has “paid off” and I’ll continue to do it. It’s the only way I get to see my extended family.