A cousin I loved dearly passed away almost three years ago. I grieved and was told to do what I do best. Write. Write a letter to him about my feelings and just get it out there. Sure. This should be a simple task. No. It was not simple at all. I could talk about how funny he was or how supportive of my budding writing “career” he was but not write to him. It seemed like such a great idea when it was suggested to me.
Write a letter to him. Weeks went by and I realized I don’t know how to write a letter to a person that is no longer living. How could I possibly write a letter to someone who I adored who left this world too soon? I would have to talk about 30 years worth of memories. I didn’t know how to sum up 30 years worth of memories in a page or two.
I remember crying and praying to God one afternoon. I asked God to help me write a letter. I asked my cousin to forgive me because I wanted to write him a letter sooner but didn’t know how. I didn’t want him to punish me all the way from Heaven. Yes, I believe in God and I am not ashamed of it. Yes, I pray all the time. I prayed for guidance.
Anxiety took over very quickly. Weeks turned to months and now months have turned to years. His birthday will be here in two weeks. I have not written the letter. It is a bizarre feeling.
His older sister was so sweet. She was three years older than him and the best older sister even until the end. She texted me to ask me if I could say something at the funeral. I didn’t expect it at all. I didn’t hesitate and quickly said “yes”. I would have done anything for him. This would have been my last chance to be there for him. She asked me to write something. I told her I couldn’t. I would recite a poem or a letter or anything …but I couldn’t write something that came from me. It would be too difficult.
She really was the best sister. She wrote something and I read her letter at the funeral. I remember walking up to the podium and I couldn’t look at his casket. If I looked at his casket I would fall apart. So I pretended it was just a service…any church service where you recite some words. I looked out at my family and friends but never at the casket. Later that day people told me I didn’t look nervous at all. I was scared to death. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
I was asked frequently that day..how did you do it? How did you not fall apart? My cousin had a cousin from his father’s side who was supposed to speak. He got so scared he backed out at the last minute. Everyone was very understanding. He even asked me how was I able to do it? You do what you have to do when you love someone.
I loved him and he does deserve a letter even if it comes three years later. So I decided for his birthday I will write the letter. I told myself it doesn’t have to be long. There would be no way to fit in all that we did, the fun we had, the laughs from 30 years into a letter. I won’t try to do that. I will just keep it real and be honest just like him.