This story is sad and, sorry to say, very true.

I have cousins that should they pass me on the street, I wouldn’t know who they are.

There are two factions of cousins and for two separate reasons, they are lost to our family.

I have wonderful memories of driving to a farm with horses and meeting my older cousins. They were second cousins once removed, I think. Aunt Gladys was my Grandmother’s sister and I always recall leaving tired from the fun I had and sad to leave. Actually it was a very good Catholic family because there were at least seven children in the family and could have been eight in all if my recollections are correct.

One day Aunt Gladie died.

Then Grandma died.

The years between those instances we saw those cousins rarely. The loss of the matriarch started the first loose thread, the unraveling of the tapestry.

The other cousins just never felt comfortable around us. That too was due to a matriarch and patriarchal decision. My first cousins have never been encouraged to interact with us. As children, my uncle (he doesn’t deserve a capital u) would of course come to his children’s defense. But the lack of social skills he bestowed on his children gave them the whininess that left holding us the bag for any perceived infraction and wanting to leave.

You see, we were not prefect, but were happy growing up. We were ‘seen and heard’ children. We were designing our own adventures with our imaginations.

They were ‘seen and not heard’ – and probably not seen at times either. I don’t remember them smiling. While I see us as full of color, they would seen as misted colors – grays and blahs.

When my Uncle Gene died (he did deserve the capital u) this part of the family did not come to the funeral – a cigarette burn to the family tapestry. It’s ugly and noticeable. It’s a blemish that can’t be undone.

The burn stops the unraveling: it cauterizes the wound. Some parts of the picture is still missing, but there is hope in restoration. Today I’ll try to search for my cousin Gayle…. one of the cousins from the farm.

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