The news came suddenly. I was in class. I was teaching class and it felt like someone came and slapped me in the face. It felt so real that I made an exclamation like someone physically slapped me. My students looked at me as I told them that one of my favorite cousins died.
I keep on thinking about how to tell the story. I guess the best way is to say that she was one of my mother's bridesmaids. She was there at the very beginning. I remember going to family gatherings for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Easter, among other things. We would play games and remember stories. Her children were in my wedding. Her husband walked me down the aisle. I saved my bouquet for her. She threw my wedding shower in her house the same year just a few weeks after the towers fell. She threw the baby shower for my first child. Me and mine always had a place at her table. We were family.
She passed away. Already I am missing her sweet spirit. I pray for those who survive her, myself included. I have a picture where she is hanging on to Santi. I wonder if he is asking her to make her eggplant parmigiana just one last time for him. She is reunited with the family that has gone on before us and we who are left upon this earth are left to feel their losses acutely.
Later on in the day, I went to Esther and she let me cry it out in front of her like she usually does. I went home and told my kids and I am so happy that they remember and I didn't need to retell anything. They have a memory of her to hold on to.
Today is the day that she will be remembered. Please send out love and prayers to my cousins who have lost their mom and Ricky who has lost his other half. It may be rough today for them.