September 10, 2008 by 8junebugs
Wow. Thank God for blogs, sometimes, because this is bigger than my journal and I am SO SAD AND ANGRY right now…and really? I’m not sure how to deal with it.
Except to write.
I blame being a Cradle Catholic for having a metric ton of cousins on one side. Seriously — Dad’s one of seven kids, y’all, and, for a minute there, I lost count of my first cousins. I’m not kidding. Metric TON.
But a bunch of us grew up together, long ago. I’m second-oldest, and after me, there was one a year for a while. Us first-borns were around each other a lot — me and Kath? People thought we were sisters at church, because it turns out we both looked just like her mom.
(I fought this for years, for no apparent reason. And then I saw my wedding pictures and realized, oh yes! I look exactly like Aunt Marianne. So that’s where my smile came from!)
(As an adult, I think Kath may favor her dad’s side, which is just as well…attractive bunch, really.)
But the point is that, for a while, we were Cousin cousins, not just related. Kath and I have two years between us, which means there’s one in between us.
That one was the first to marry, the first to realize that wasn’t the best idea, and the first to remarry…selecting a man who, I have to tell you, seems from a distance to be someone I would like quite a bit.
I’ve learned this night that they were trying to start a family, which, okay, isn’t really news. I’m at that age where everyone’s having babies. But it didn’t happen right away and my cousin had some doctors check her out, and she’s just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
She’s 30. ONLY 30. Just barely.
And here she is, facing such extreme choices about building a family that I…I have no frame of reference. There’s no choice, no alternative — she has cancer. In fact, though her doctors are optimistic, this isn’t an indication of a chance to develop cancer. This is full-blown, “We can see which bits need to be taken out” cancer.
I feel very helpless all of a sudden. I can’t keep a secret and keep her out of trouble. I can’t show her how to do a skate a figure-eight backwards. I can’t toss a bale of hay and get her chores done faster.
I can only be sad and really effing angry.
(Kath, I don’t know if you’ve heard yet or not. If not, I’m really sorry — please call your mom. And give her my love.)
Edited to add: Technically, this cousin wasn’t the first to marry and divorce. The one older than I beat us to that experience by quite a bit…but then, she’s quite a bit older and has always lived far away. My bad.