I debated posting about this because it feels like a more private thing than I typically like to share on this public blog, and I didn't want to put it up for comment. But I can't think of anything but this right now, and it feels too significant to not write about.
I hadn't seen this cousin in many years due to the great geographic distance between us, and we weren't really in touch because our lives had taken us in different directions. But we were relatives, so there was a bond and a love that was there even when communication was not. I always got updates on her life from her family members and would think back fondly to time spent together at summer camp and family reunions.
I always thought she was so cool because she was a few years older than I was, and I felt so proud when she'd let me hang out with her. We once spent the better part of an afternoon at one of our family reunions riding the elevator and seeing if we could get through the chorus of "Leaving on a Jet Plane" before the doors opened. The challenge was that we could only sing when no one else was in the elevator, and we never knew when the elevator was going to stop to pick up new passengers (it was a rather fancy resort we were at, so we definitely couldn't have kept singing with other people in there with us). It sounds like a ridiculous game, and it probably was, but it kept us entertained for a long stretch of time.
I spent the afternoon yesterday with another cousin in NYC and it was she who received the news first. Silently, we made our way back to her place, where we proceeded to make calls to our parents to get more information. And as the evening wore on, there were many moments I found myself grateful to be in the presence of a family member who shared my family history.
I received an email today from a close family member that both brought me to tears and comforted me with its simple message:
Sometimes when we experience terrible tragedies, there is goodness that appears through acts of kindness... Stick together and love each other.
So let this be a reminder to all of you out there to hold your children, spouses, partners, siblings, parents, and friends extra close tonight. Make sure they know how much they mean to you and how loved they are. And make sure to love yourselves, too, while you're at it.
Let your love cover me
Like a pair of angel wings
You are my family
You are my family