Another one goes

Aunts, uncles, cousins. My Mother is the woman standing on the right. My Dad is the man seated facing forward on the right.

I was one of 50 cousins and the youngest of all. Most of my cousins are 10 to 20 years older than I am and many have passed. This week another one died. I wasn’t close to this particular cousin but I have a very vivid memory of her husband’s funeral exactly 20 years ago.

In our family, funerals are large affairs with services followed by a meal. Some people attract larger crowds and some people select nicer venues for the “celebration of life” that follows. Her husband’s funeral checked off both those boxes. He was also young, in his 60s, which means that most of his friends were still alive.

It was an opportunity to see cousins I hadn’t seen in years. Somehow we corralled a table and got all my favorite people to sit there. It was raucous. Everyone was talking at the same time. Everyone was laughing. We were all catching up. Over half were retired. I took the day off from work. I wasn’t foolish enough to return

afterward. I wanted to enjoy the afterglow of family. We were finally asked by the restaurant to leave.

Despite the somber occasion behind the event, it was one of my favorite and most memorable extended family events. There was only one other cousin gathering in the ensuing years and that was a 50th wedding celebration about ten years ago.

Here we are many years later and missing more people. It’s unlikely this event, even though this was a beloved person, will be a great gathering of the cousins at least not my cousins. Even those who are alive have health issues that preclude them from attending large gatherings during a pandemic.  Those days are over. The transition happens year by year without anyone being conscious of it until there is an event. Then there are less and less people. This is one of those times I wish I could go back for one more picnic with everyone. I would savor every minute. Instead I will focus on savoring every minute of my “now” so I won’t feel like this in ten years although I probably will.

51 thoughts on “Another one goes

  1. That’s rough – I’m sorry for your loss Kate. I’ve not seen my cousins since my grandfather’s funeral in 1969. They did not go to my grandmother’s funeral in 1986 (a fact which I never understood), but my mother used to talk in glowing terms about gathering every August at her grandparents’ farm with all her cousins and their families and I would have liked to enjoyed something like that growing up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry to hear about your cousin. Our numbers are dwindling now also, and I wonder how large the various get-togethers will be, post-covid. I lost a beloved uncle last year; they did a Zoom funeral which left no one very happy, but it was the best we could do. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so sorry for your loss, Kate! Those earlier gatherings sound like fun, even though some of them were for somber occasions. I haven’t seen much of my extended family for quite a while now either, and do miss most of them. We do keep up on Facebook, so that’s something. Not quite the same though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • For several years, I kept up with the younger members of my family on Facebook but they don’t post much these days. I don’t know if they switched to another social media or if they just aren’t posting. I miss the quirky posts too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I certainly have many family gatherings I’d love to revisit, and some have centered around gatherings after the loss of a loved one. We lost another family member this past week, and the gathering is both delayed and very complex because of Covid-restrictions. I hear you saying that you weren’t very close to your cousin, but I’m sure there is loss associated with the aging of a family. Life feels very precarious these days. I hope your memories will be nurturing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My family wasn’t what you could call close. Once my brothers and I were grown and our grandparents were gone, there really wasn’t much getting together. I haven’t seen anyone in my family in years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Once the elders died, then the older cousins started passing away, we all fell apart too. I don’t see anyone outside of my brother, nieces and nephews. I haven’t seen a cousin since the last funeral which may have been 6 to 8 years ago.

      Like

  6. I’m sincerely sorry for your loss. My husband and I were talking about how it seems like just a few years ago we were in our early 30’s and would visit his family, and the first topic was who was in the hospital and who had died since we were there last. I couldn’t quite grasp it. Now, I’m living it. Circle of life. We don’t have to like it, but it is what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am sorry for your loss Kate. Funerals are indeed very different today thanks to the virus.
    At my Mum’s funeral in February 2018, I realised with great sadness that she had outlived all her friends. The people there were nearly all relatives and their friends. Mum was loved by many.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Family events were always small for us. I had one Aunt and Uncle, three Cousins, and Grandparents we only visited twice. We lived nowhere near each other so it was an annual trip when we DID see them. I always wondered how it would be to be part of a big family. I’m so sorry for your loss – time passes and what once was a crowd dwindles to a small few but even so, it means just as much when you have a reunion I’m sure. Makes you think about how quickly time passes!

    Hugs, Pam

    Liked by 1 person

  9. yes, to go back to a family event is my greatest wish too when I watch photos… but in this ole times I was the one who hated such events… probably the weirdness of teenagers… today I miss so much of our family and now as they are gone I know what we had once…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My father was the youngest of 50 cousins! Just had to say that. I don’t have much in the way of family, and usually only see them now because of funerals. I’ve been to some somber funerals, and some lively ones. I preferred the lively ones, much more in tune with my Irish heritage.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. My grandmother’s cousins used to hold an annual cousin’s reunion until there weren’t enough attending to make the event worthwhile. After the original cousin generation had mostly past on, it continued with their kids for another 15 years. But after that the connections were too loose to hold it together I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Those are good memories, Kate. And it says something about how a person lived that family can sit around and celebrate with food, stories and laughter. I’m not comfortable at funerals and I am generally pretty sad. Depends on who it is that’s died. I don’t go to funerals unless it is someone that was truly important in my life. Guess I’m just sensitive. I barely made it through my Mom’s funeral and I still feel the loss and sadness.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My condolences on your loss. I can relate to this post as I recall a lot of nice visits with cousins after a funeral too. And I believe those days are over too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes and while you are in the middle of it, you don’t realize what a fleeting moment it was. I remember 20 years ago we even talked about a reunion but no one picked up the ball to make it happen. My family (siblings and descendants) have a reunion. One year I invited this person and her mother (my aunt) but she declined. Not sure why but I didn’t try again.

      Like

  14. What a fantastic memory. So far the raucous events in my family are weddings. The family is super uptight until they start drinking. The my surgeon sister’s kids are astounded by their mother’s fluent, constant profanity.

    And also all the aunts and uncles fighting over desserts.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Funeral must vary with regions. Most used to be church, grave, home unless invited to a family home for memories and consolations. Recently there have been some really big high dollar affairs with as much planing as a wedding (“Oh, we have to have these little sandwiches. She would want us to have these pretty little sandwiches…”) Covid stalled much of that now.
    Dad always said, the time to enjoy and spend money/time with family is when they are alive. Too late once they are dead. It was sad watching his circle of friends, cousins, and siblings grow smaller – now feeling the same way myself – and trying to remember to cherish any time given now.
    Great post – and reminder

    Liked by 2 people

    • Back in the old days, everyone went back to the house of the deceased for lunch and beer/soda but then it was easier to host people at firehalls or community rooms. Now it’s mostly at restaurants although my family doesn’t go high end. Mostly a buffet of some sort and you’re out in an hour. The one 20 years ago went on for a while we were asked to leave around 3 so they could prep for the dinner crowd.

      Like

  16. I share your nostalgia for special days and moments, Kate. I’d love to go back to relive the past and refresh my memories. If I figure out time travel, I’ll fill you in!

    Like

  17. I remember attending my grandfather’s funeral when I was in perhaps my mid-twenties, and while the lunch afterwards at a nearby pub (one he had visited for decades) could have been sombre, it was not – everybody was full of smiles, and stories – so many stories. It’s interesting how it takes a death to bring a family back together, isn’t it.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply to Nicole MacPherson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s