As an only child, my aunts and uncles who had children provided cousins that were cherished as playmates despite our varied age differences. The cousins enjoyed many happy family experiences when we got together with our shared grandparents and common background. Some of my relatives lived out of state. I saw them less frequently, only on special or important family occasions like: reunions, special holidays, weddings and funerals.
|Uncle Norm, Aunt Esther, my Mom|
& Aunt Ethel (still living at age 94)
I remember my Grandmother Johnson’s funeral because it was so unexpected. She was only 76 years old which seemed ancient in those days when I was younger, but isn’t now as I’ve grown older. Grandma was about to be released from the hospital after having pneumonia. She had just written a letter to one of her daughters saying:
(Feb 14, 1967) Well here I am, came here yesterday. Rachel bought me. I had a better night last night and I am out of pain. Have no blood clots this time so I don't think I'll be here over a week so glad I came now. Don't you worry. I'm so much better here. Have the very best of care. Its the only place to be when you are sick. So by by all my love as ever Mother. (Feb 16, 1967) Dear ones, just a few lines to say. I'm doing fine. I think the Dr. will let me go home Sunday. Gee I hope so, its so noisy in here. You just can't think and it snowed again since I came. And is very cold hope you are both well. Love, Mother
A few hours after this letter was written, Grandma died of a blood clot. It was a time of sadness for our family as we celebrated her life of loving and service to us all.
The cousins I lived closest to had a big influence on my life. My oldest cousin Jody was the person who took me to church. Later when she married, and was divorced with three little ones to raise, she became an example to me of carrying on as a single parent. I never realized that one day I would follow in her footsteps with the same challenges.Would love to hear your family stories about experiences that influenced who you are today. Just write a couple of paragraphs and I’ll help you with editing-spelling, grammar, etc. Sharing your stories can strengthen your family ties and leave a legacy. NEXT TIME: Family Legacies.