My Aunt will start the new year by burying her youngest child. Suddenly my problems seem insignificant.
I got word yesterday morning that my Cousin - my Dad's youngest sister's child (the youngest of her three daughters) - died suddenly. Her live-in boyfriend returned home from work on Friday and found her on the couch, dead.
There was no sign of forced entry into her home and there were no marks on her body, nor alcohol / pills lying around that would indicate any sort of violence or suicide. According to the coroner, she looked "peaceful."
I am ashamed to admit that I did not know this particular cousin well, and so I don't even know exactly how old she is. (I mean, "was.") (God, that's hard to write). She is (was) quite a few years younger than I am, and I have always lived hundreds or thousands of miles away from her. My Dad was not particularly close to his youngest sister, either, and so we did not visit with her often as my cousins and I were growing up. There is no anger or estrangement, just not a particularly close relationship.
But I do remember visiting my Aunt when I was about 35, and this particular Cousin of mine was in college at the time. I was driving through the town my Aunt lived in, and stopped to visit for a while. My Cousin was at my Aunt's house with a few of her friends that day, and we all had dinner together. I am guessing she is (was) now in her early 30's.
I remember that she was beautiful, vivacious, and friendly. I remember that she laughed a lot with her friends and family, that day that I visited. I remember the obvious love between her and my Aunt.
As a Mom, I cannot even imagine the sadness and despair my Aunt must now be feeling. To lose her youngest child, at a too-young age... It hurts just to think about it.