Posts Tagged ‘cousins’

“A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.”

I’ve read that quote more than once and I believe this to be the absolute truth. You all know how I feel about family. If we share the same blood/family we are members of a very special club. Ain’t nobody getting kicked out of it. Even if we no longer see each other very often.

I have more than twenty-five first cousins. But when I was a kid most lived in Ireland and some in England.

So, sadly, I didn’t share a childhood with all of my cousins. But that was just reality.

The ones who I did share my childhood with consisted of three families who lived in the U.S. like me.

They were my Dad’s sister, Rose Marie and her family in New York. In Rhode Island we had the families of Mom’s sister, Patsy and her brother, Jimmy.

Summer holidays and other times during the year were spent with the New York cousins.

Christmas, Easter, cookouts and regular Sunday visits to the grandparents were spent with the Rhode Island cousins.

Oh, what fun we had when we were young.

There were the older cousins in our (my brothers and me) age range and then a few younger ones came along in the 1970s. That was pretty exciting for us. Everyone liked babies and they were just absorbed. Welcomed into the fold.

That’s the funny thing about babies. They are not like the future in-laws who take awhile to break into the family. To be a part of the club and inner circle. Going through the initiation and all.

But a baby? Born into the family? The bouncer just lets that little bundle of joy right into the club! Like a celebrity with status. No stopping at the door, stamping its hand or questioning their right to be there. They’re totally in!

One of my baby cousins died on March 18th. John was just shy of his forty-seventh birthday. He will be interred tomorrow with his beloved mother.

I last saw him when he made the trip to Rhode Island for my Dad’s funeral three years ago. Even though it was a sad time I was really happy to see him and so many family members. These days everyone lives in different places and reunions are not always easy or frequent. So weddings and funerals are the “go to” places for the big catch ups.

John was a beautiful child. An adorable kid with a mop of curly red hair. He was intelligent and good humored. He was a nice and decent boy who grew up to be a nice and decent man.

He died young. Too young.

For the record, I think all deaths under the age of eighty are sort of tragic.

Today is no different.

John died because he was a human being. Lest we forget -we are all afflicted with that title.

A death reminds us that we are all human. Some might dodge the bullets of life. Others aren’t so fortunate and get hit head on. But we all know, really, that sometimes we just have no say or control. Our expiration date, like a milk carton, might (I say might) have been printed long ago. Even if we argue or beg that it could have been/should have been different.

It’s still tragic. It’s heartbreaking and sad.

One of the benefits of being in the cousins’ club is that there is only love. No jealousy or judgement. We’re family and are grateful for the shared and special memories. We take joy in the success and happiness of each other. We are sympathetic when one is experiencing family problems, job loss, illness and other maladies of life.

There is profound and utter sadness when we lose one of our gang.

When John was a baby I was sleeping at his house one weekend. Poor little thing couldn’t pronounce my name (Mary Beth) but he tried. In the morning I heard a little voice coming from the crib, “Maybell?”

Since then it’s been “ours” and we didn’t ever let it go.

So every year on our birthdays and other Facebook messages we used Maybell instead of my real name. Now, I’m wondering if he actually ever knew what my real name was.

Anyway, it was like we were little kids. He in his forties and me in my fifties. In a way, a simple word brought us back in time and kept us young. Even if it was for a minute. It was a shared memory.

See, because a cousin is a little piece of childhood that can never be lost.

John will always and forever be a part of my childhood that can never be lost.

We will miss you, John. Rest in peace. Like one of your sisters said, “Rest is not so easy right now on this side of Heaven.”

The club will no longer be the same, little cousin.

With all my love,

Maybell

 

 

In memory of John J. Kelly

1971-2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today is my little brother’s 50th birthday. I sure wish I could be there to celebrate this momentous occasion. To give him a huge hug.

Last week my cousin Rosemary and her lovely family from Ireland were visiting New York. I wished that I could have been there for that fun family gathering.

But neither was a possibility.

I live so far from home and I also have a child in high school.

The following is written by my brother’s wife, Patty. It was sent to her email subscribers and associates. It’s about choice and destiny.

I already know the story because it’s a part of my family history. The priest at their wedding even mentioned the story of the two families being joined by marriage. But I loved reading it. It somehow made me feel happy and connected. Even though I am miles away.

It really is about choice and destiny.

My husband and I made a choice to move to Malaysia for a job opportunity. Knowing we would be far away from our loved ones. Would miss out on family gatherings and events.

And yet destiny allowed us to experience and meet so many wonderful people who we will never forget. People meant to be in our paths so that we could grow, flourish and see the world through different eyes.

From Patty:

This past weekend my children met their cousins from Ireland for the first time.   It was a pretty wild experience for me personally because seeing all their little faces side by side reminded me that part of our life is shaped by choice and part by destiny.

Let me explain.

These cousins are on my husband’s side of the family but I grew up believing they were my family.  

My husband’s grandmother and my grandmother were close friends in Ireland.   My grandmother came to the States, my husband’s grandmother stayed in Ireland.

My husband’s father and aunt later came to the States and remained good friends with my father so I grew up viewing them as family.  

I grew up knowing and loving many people in my husband’s family (but I didn’t meet my husband until I was much older.)

At least four times in the ten years prior to meeting my husband, different family members had talked about setting my husband and me up.  It never happened.   

Each time his cousin or mother would suggest we meet, I declined.  It felt weird to be set up.  I made a CHOICE not to pursue him, yet DESTINY intervened.

16 years ago this week we sat next to each other at a wedding and we’ve been together ever since.

My husband and I both pinpoint the moment we fell in love – it was about 4 hours after we met.  I know our grandmothers in heaven had something to do with it.  

And as they watch their great grandchildren sitting on this couch I wonder what they must be thinking.  They both grew up in a very small town in Northern Ireland.   And now their families, joined by blood and love, are connecting in Brooklyn, NY 100+ years later.

I truly believe that most of our life is shaped by CHOICE.  And certainly the WAY we experience life is shaped exclusively by the thoughts we choose.  But there are pieces of the puzzle that are shaped by DESTINY.  There are forces that guide us to key people we are meant to meet and experiences we contracted to have in this lifetime.

This knowledge gives me a deep sense of peace because it shows me that you and I can’t screw this lifetime up.  The stuff that really needs to happen, will happen no matter what.  And everything that happens in between is up to us to choose based on what we want to experience.

Doesn’t that make you feel better?!!!

In this week’s featured article I talk about taking small steps to make what you CHOOSE to happen come true.   Read below to make sure you are doing everything in your power to create what you choose!

In love and light,

Patty

Patty is a crowdfunding expert, business coach, author and speaker. If you want to learn more about her then please check out http://www.pattylennon.com

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