Cousins, friends and survivors
Being what is called “second cousins” we have been the closest of cousins ever since we were babies. Our parents also having a strong bond growing up in Hispanic culture family is important. As grown married adults the family is encouraged to stay close by the elders. However, this isn’t always the case. Personalities an point of views change. Spouses don’t always mesh well with the family possibly because of their own upbringing. In our case thankfully our parents did. As a generation from the 60’s and 70’s our parents were “far out” survivors of the hippie era. As they became parents the party life slowed down a bit. Family gatherings were not as often. A typical gathering became far and in-between. They usually happen when there was a death in the family. Sad as it was those are the times my cousin Leslie and I were happy to be at as young girls. We’d get to see each other spend time laughing or getting into some kind of trouble. Then when the adults were done “adulting” it was time to say goodbye, until the next gathering. After throwing a fit and our parents agreeing to us getting together again soon we would happily part ways.
All was normal for us as we grew up into teens, exchanging addresses to write one another. Letters was our form of communication. Few phone calls. Cell phones were not available at the time. At least not for us. This did not bother or interfere with our communication and bonding. Leslie and I were content with writing and receiving letters.
As our lives started changing as expected, just as our parents experienced. Leslie sent me her graduation picture and invitation with her letter as for me, I sent a baby shower invitation with mine. Life definitely was different, letters sent and received became less often. The one thing that we both knew was that we were sure to see each other at the next funeral of our elders or few birthday parties of our parents or cousins.
Now adults, I being a mother and soon to be married Leslie was moving out on her own and living the single life. It so happened that my now husband was born and raised in the Southside of town as my cousin was. We were closer to each other we were able to make our own plans and get together as often as we wanted!
As mentioned several times, so far funeral gatherings had been a normal part of my cousins and my usual time to catch up. Only they weren’t as fun as when we were young girls. The reason for this is because the funerals were not for the 3rd or 4th generation’s of the family. The funerals were for our parents. Slowly and one by one my cousin and I would lose our father’s and mother’s followed a year or so after. Our bond is strangely strong and beautiful. We have been there for each other through the most difficult times of our lives. We have gone months even years without communication and will always catch up as if we talked everyday. Her father passed shortly after, her mother too passed. I was there with and for my cousin while her world was falling apart right before her eyes. Not many years later my father past then my mother followed a year later. Yes, she was there for me at the time my own world was falling apart as well.
Years later my cousin met the man who would capture her heart and show her how it was to be loved and taken care of. As I felt early on that she would meet the man who was going love her and I was grateful for prayers answered and happy for them. We grew distant for a few years due to our personal lives. I knew she not alone and I neither was I being that my family was growing by becoming a grandmother.
Present day, it’s been a few months now that my cousin lost the man who showed her what it was to be loved and to love them back. The day before I found out about his passing, oddly enough I was thinking of the time she told me about this guy who was persistent to go out with her and how I had prayed for her to find love and love find her. Needless to say I was there for and with her at the funeral. Years of not being in constant contact , we caught up over a margarita and have been in constant contact since then. Now it seems to be my time of mourning yet again. My Elderly uncle who I’m caring for, recently was confirmed that he can pass on at anytime now. And who is there for my not just me but for my family? Yes, my beautiful cousin and friend Leslie.
Being raised in Hispanic culture and the countless funerals attended has not been a coincidence its been the foundation for what our lives together would be like. Since we were young girls, teenagers and adults. She’s got my back and I have hers. No amount of time or distance has nor will ever change our bond. We are Friends, we are survivors we are cousins for life.
primas por vida