Hummingbird, Hope, Joy
A year ago today I lost my beautiful and hilarious cousin to melanoma. She was 30. And had the funniest laugh you could ever hear. She was snark and support in one neat package. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about her.
When Laura passed away, I learned at her wake, that she had spent a portion of her last conversations with family members talking about me. See, if you don't remember I was going through a rough patch the first part of 2011. In fact, the whole year is on record as the toughest I've ever had to face to date. And my cousin was worried about me.
I'm sure she knew that when we finally left us, we'd be shattered. I'm sure she knew that there would be times when we thought we could not go on. That one more stick on our pile of sadness, stress, and unfairness would just break us. But she was brave.
My sadness for her never really leaves. And I find myself welling up with tears whenever I talk about her for longer than a sentence or two. I would give anything to have another night with her. Sharing laughter and tears over drinks. So yes, in some ways I think when someone you love so much goes away, you never stop being shattered.
But Laura helped to give my happiness back. It was because of her that I vowed to start kicking the shit out of life. To recover from a different sadness that was engulfing too much of my life.
And I'm sure that if she and I were to have a drink together, she'd have some choice words about some of the decisions I've made this year. She'd shake her head and roll her eyes and laugh at my foolishness. But she'd be happy that I am happy.
So last night, when I fully realized that the next morning would mark a year, I cried. I cried in the bed of a relationship I believe is finally growing roots. I cried because I miss my cousin. I cried because a year has gone by so quickly. I cried because I came out of the gloomy darkness stronger. I cried because we can't ever have even one day to relive. I cried because I don't get to text her silly messages or ask for advice. I cried because there is always a moment now, at every family function, when I am standing alone. I cried because wherever she is, at least she's free.
And because I am certain she knows that happiness is here. And because I think she looks at all of us and recognizes our own bravery. And because I'm even more certain she's not done helping me with those last things I whispered in her ear.