"Family" has different meanings. Over the years I have had "brothers" and "sisters" that my Mama never delivered. I think that comes from being an only child; I have, however, been the beneficiary of lots of aunts and uncles. Which also means many wonderful cousins. I happen to be the oldest.
Since my youngest aunt is only 5 years older than me, I have been an unofficial little sister to my Mother's sisters and brother. I have always treasured my times with the "aunts," especially since I have gotten older. They are all delightful, beautiful, talented southern Ladies, as is my Mom, and we all share that kinship of WOMEN. The photo shows (l-r) Aunt Frances, Aunt Ella, Beautiful Sutton, Bernie, Mama Anne, and me.
Yesterday several of us gathered at a lunch table in a local family restaurant. The main purpose was to bid farewell to my cousin Sutton. Sutton's dad, my Uncle Jack, died in January. Sutton and Stuart, (Sutton's brother, my cousin) had come back to Virginia to be with Uncle Jack in his last days and Sutton had stayed to settle matters here. Sutton and Stuart have made their lives on the West Coast and are very successful individuals.
I realized, during the brief times that I had shared with them, that I truly loved being with my cousins, and also that I wished we lived closer so that we could enjoy each other as friends. Alas, the time has come for Sutton to resume her life after this tragic interruption. She will be taking the long way home, stopping along the way to visit friends in different parts of the country. As I mentioned to her yesterday, sometimes a commute helps ease the transition. She said that she agreed and that is the main reason she is doing it; a 4 hour flight would be too quick.
Sutton's maternal Grandmother, Bernie, (whom she affectionately calls "Boo") was also there to thank all of us for our tenderness towards Sutton during this time. We all knew that "thanks" was unnecessary as we love her, Stuart and Uncle Jack. We were all appreciative of this last opportunity to be together. Bernie plus Sutton's mom and step-dad will also be traveling to the coast later this summer in a major move of household to be near their children.
So, bonne chance mon cher cousin! I do hope we will be together again someday. Remember, tho' you now live on the west coast, you are a southern girl at heart (remember those ham biscuits) and we all stick together! I will miss you.