The best part of the funeral - if there can be a best part - was seeing my cousins. Ours is a teeny-tiny family: Grandma had two children and each of them had two children. So not counting spouses there are...were...only seven of us.
I love, LOVE my cousins. The two of them are basically the brothers I never had.
I'm the eldest overall, my sis is three years behind, eldest grandson (Mark) is four years behind her and his brother is three and a half years behind him. We didn't grow up hanging out together on a regular basis, but I've always felt close to Mark.
My aunt, to whom I have always believed I should have been born, swears Mark and I could be brother and sister - we're that much alike. I spent a lot of time tonight hugging him, saying uncharacteristically nice things and trying to make him laugh at completely inappropriate times.
His younger brother and I aren't tight, but he is awesome. Big, handsome, personable extremely likable guy. We're more sort of buddies - when we see each other - than cousins. I can still crack him up, too. Of this I am extremely proud.
The problem, I just realized, is that the cousins live in Colorado, favorite ex-uncle (see Monday's post) has a new girlfriend, I live in Dixie and everyone else is spread around Chicago. The only reason we ever all got together was because of my Grandma. I hate to think this was the last time I'll see them until - God forbid - someone even closer to me "goes home to Jesus."
The other side of that coin is my extended family. Gran was one of 12 kids so we have second and third cousins aplenty who we ONLY see when somebody dies or gets married. They are a total hoot. I would love to hang out with these women - one is a Le Cordon Bleu chef, another is a gynecologist - if I lived here.
I know I won't see them again until somebody else buys the farm...which isn't entirely bad. At least it gives me something to look forward to during an otherwise pretty damn depressing time.
Cousins. Totally. Rock.