Where I come from, “cousins” means something a little bit more than its dictionary definition. We were 10 in number; 7 of us girls, less than 10 years of age difference between us. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think we were sisters and not the children of three sisters. We made up dances. We gave each other bike rides around our grandparents’ yard. We shared a lot of hairspray.
When we’ve been apart because of time or distance, we never miss a beat when we meet up again. You always know we’re together because we are the loudest in any God-given place. Seriously. The very loudest laughs you will ever have the misfortune of sitting next to at Olive Garden.
Last night, we lost my beautiful cousin Angelica. Not the oldest, not the youngest. Not sick. Not an accident. Not anything. Just – and I have to trust this – meant to be. Mother to three children (the one she was so close to giving birth to went with her). Kind. Warm, but also a firecracker.
I haven’t entirely absorbed what happened less than 24 hours ago, but I do know that I want to honor her in my own little way.
Gelica was always bubbly. Always. Even when she had no reason to be, she smiled. It was a gorgeous smile. I find photos of myself where I think I resemble her and I love those. She was funny and warm. And I don’t like the fact that I’m using the past tense one bit.
This last day and the days ahead will be tough, but my family’s amazing.
Gelica, I’m going to miss you ridiculously.