Thursday, December 31, 2015


Cousins are strange things. They can be many things to all of us. They can be friends. They can be people we spend quality time with for a few days every few years. Or they can be total strangers and mysteries to us.

After our siblings they are often the first group of individuals that teach us about how relationships work. If we are fortunate enough to be the same age, we often spend some time with them during the early years of our lives. And they can be some of those cherished childhood memories.

But one thing about them is that if one of them dies there is something inside of you telling you something is wrong. It doesn't matter if you were close or just people that you talked to at family gatherings. Cousins are one of those strange connections to some of the foundations in our lives. They remind us that we are connected to a group of people other than those we live with and see daily.

That strange something wrong feeling happened to me this week. My cousin Rob passed away this week. Rob and I weren't particularly close, but we were the same age. He was 3 months younger than me.

So since we were the same age, it feels a little odd to think that he is no longer with us. Since I learned of his death I have thought about time that I spent with him. Most of it during visits to my grandparents during the summer. And then those occasional visits his parents made to our home growing up.

I thought about times at the swimming pool and times where we were just playing childhood games at my grandparents home. I thought about the time he came with his family to visit us in Kansas. He found a box of baseball cards that I had. He went through them and told me he wanted to buy some of them. He then asked me where I got them all. And I replied you gave them to me. The look on his face was priceless.

I have thought about the times at family gatherings when he made a point to come over and talk to me. And he always wanted to know what was going on in my life. He always made me feel like he wanted to know me as a person. He wasn't just making small talk like so many individuals do at those gatherings.

So as this week moves on and a memorial service will be held in his honor. There is something special that will be missing at that memorial. The person who always had a smile, a joke, and wanted to know what was going on in my life won't be there. He will be missed.

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