When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s farm. Many of my cousins also spent a lot of time at the farm. We also would travel to Virginia to visit my aunt and her family. They would also travel to Kentucky to see my grandmother. There are many pictures of me and my siblings with my two cousins from Virginia. They were a big part of my childhood as were some of my other cousins. My grandmother died when I was in 6th grade. My dad died when I was a senior in high school. After this, I saw the cousins less and less.
I moved away to college and then after college moved to Cincinnati for a couple of years. At this point, I didn’t see any of my cousins at all. When I was at home I spent the time with my mom and my siblings. After two years in Cincy, my wife was transferred to DC. I had a job interview in DC a day before we were to move into our temporary housing. So, after my interview, I spent the night at my aunt’s house just south of DC in Virginia. We did a little better for a while going to visit them off and on. It was easy because our temporary housing was also in Virginia. Eventually, our house in Maryland was done and then my aunt moved further south. The visits took a little more time, but we still tried to go down occasionally. I can’t remember when it was that the visits stopped. I know that my cousins were both married and had kids, but all of our kids were still pretty young. It’s easy to let a busy life give you an excuse to stop visiting.
Fast forward a few years – I get the news that my aunt has died. I travel down to the funeral and see my cousins and their kids for the first time in several years. Not long after that my uncle died and I was back again for a funeral. I think this one was the one where I spent the night instead of driving back and forth. We were honest with each other. She didn’t do online stuff and I hate making phone calls. Odds were we would not keep in touch. We were correct. I was eventually friends with each cousin’s kids on Facebook so I knew a little about their lives, but we never saw each other in person.
Fast forward 9 years – I wake up early to go to a work event and look at Facebook. My cousin’s daughter has posted that her little brother was shot to death tat night. He was 18. So, last week I was back down south for another funeral. I had not seen anyone there for 9 years. We only seem to see each other when bad things happen. The same goes for both sides of my family. The only time I see any family members besides my siblings is at a funeral. We’ve become that family. I don’t think anyone meant for it to happen. It just did. I would like to say that things will change, but it likely won’t. I don’t foresee anyone ever coming to visit me. I don’t foresee anyone wanting or expecting me to come to visit them. We will see each other the next time something bad happens. Sad, but true.