Friday, January 15, 2016
Hope and Regret
A cousin of mine died yesterday. I found out while at the funeral of one of my aunts on the other side of my family.
I hadn't seen Aunt Hazel in person in at least four years, but got updates from her daughters on her deteriorating condition. She started a long decline about ten years ago, and as her daughter eulogized yesterday, she actually left us a long, long time ago; it's just that her body only followed on Tuesday.
I hadn't seen my cousin, David in quite some time, either. Our families became somewhat estranged in the mid-80s when my uncle took exception to my mom's no-booze rule at family gatherings and they stopped coming to see us. It must have been tough for Mom to put that rule in place, knowing full well what the outcome could be, but she felt the need to protect her children. Morris died from the effects of heavy smoking and drinking about 15 years ago; the last time I saw David and his wife and children in person was at that funeral.
I think of them often, though. David was an OPP officer, and in my line of work, we talk about the cops a lot. I was quite taken with his wife the few times we met. His daughter got a big scholarship a few years ago and I wrote her a letter of congratulations, explaining how her Great Grandmother had been denied the chance at an education, had told me to make the most of mine and would have been thrilled at the achievement. The letter came back because they had moved and I didn't have the new address.
Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I have always expected that at some point, sometime, there would be a time when we cousins would get together and talk through what happened in our respective childhoods, laugh and joke and become the friends I feel we were meant to be. It's happened with some of my other cousins and I treasure it: adult conversations away from a reunion or funeral when I have discovered my cousin is someone I would choose to hang with even if we weren't related.
But now, it's not going to happen. Detective Constable David Herrington and I will not have that serious talk, we will never laugh about the year he captured every single frog in the creek at my parent's farm. I will not get to tell him the Big Family Secret (maybe he already knew), and I likely won't get to know his brilliant daughter. It's a future I hoped for that I foolishly mourn today.