Friday, January 29, 2016


My cousin Stoney passed away on Sunday.
There were three grandkids on my Mom's side.  He was a year older than me.  He grew up in California where Mom's family is, and was currently living in Seattle.

I wrote this right after I heard the news on Monday afternoon.
I thought I wasn't going to post this publicly, but for me, grief becomes easier when I write and share.

On any other post I would apologize for the raw language and the bitterness.  I thought about writing a disclaimer on this one, too... but then I would be apologizing for what I really felt that day.  Something tells me it's not right to say "sorry" for being true to oneself.

At Anne's wedding, June 2000


I don't know what to say.

You are gone and I can't do anything to bring you back.

I know I could have done something.  I know I should have done something.

I never got to tell you how much you meant to me.

You were my best buddy out there, my partner in crime.  Ever since I can remember, you were what going on vacation was all about.  We're going to California - it will be fun!  We're going to California - my cousin will be there!  We're going to California - STONEY!

"I can't wait to get there!" I'd think.  "We'll swim, and play."  We played ALL day, and as long as we could make it into the night.  We ate a lot of great food, like fresh cherries and peaches.  So many cherries, in fact, that Grandma told us to stop because there would be none left for the freezer.  You showed me how to eat an avocado and I pretended to like it.

I do like avocados now.  You showed me how good they can be.  I didn't forget you.

Remember how we used to play Jenga with your friend Mike?  We laughed until we couldn't breathe over the dumbest things, but they were funny to our 12-year-old selves.  We ate orange popsicles...6 popsicles each.  We played piano.  You told Mike I was the best piano player you'd ever heard.  I was proud to show you what I could play and you told me I needed to teach you everything I knew.  That piano from Grandma and Grandpa's house is in my house now...along with that memory of you.

Thank you for making me feel like I was great.  I didn't forget that.

We went to church and you brought your Bible.  Anne and I were just coming from Hidden Acres and our hearts were on fire, wanting to know your thoughts about God and if you knew Jesus loved you.  He loves you.  "He loves you and He wants you to love Him!"

He loves you more than anyone ever could.  I hope you didn't forget that.

We were self-conscious teenagers, myself more awkward than anyone.  You brought me to your friend's house and we hung out with them for a while in the backyard.  You and your friends used words like "hella fine" and the girls were all so tan, lovely and mature.  The boys wore their hats sideways and their pants too-big.  You were protective of your intimidated cousin and made sure to introduce me to everyone.

You were like a big brother.  I loved you.

You used to let the cockatiels fly into our room when Anne and I were still sleeping.  The birds landed on our heads and it scared the living daylights out of me.  I was mad and you laughed.  

You were an annoying big brother.  I still loved you.

In Grandpa's pool that he built for us, we had a ridiculous amount of fun.  You did a running front flip off the diving board and called it "Chinese Egg Roll."  The front flip without running was "American Egg Roll."  I'm laughing now thinking about it.  We had a trampoline to jump into the pool from.  I still hear Grandma telling us that it was a bad idea and one of us was going to get hurt.  We didn't jump when she was watching.  You played along with my pretending to be Ariel.  You were Ursula the Sea Witch and the pool vacuum was "Scuttle."  We'd try to remember to put the pool vacuum back, because if we forgot... just watch out for Grandma.  She loved us a lot, but the vacuum sprayed water everywhere if it wasn't put back in the pool.  Pool water equals chlorine.  Chlorine kills flowers.  We apologized that one time we left it out, and we felt bad.  But as soon as we were outside again, we ran away giggling.

I'm so glad we have that memory together.  I still think of it often.  I didn't forget you.

You were the best cousin I could have asked for.

Oh Stoney.  Why??  And no, I'm not yelling WHY at you.  I'm yelling WHY at myself.  Why didn't I try?  Why didn't I at least try to reach out to you?  You probably thought I didn't care.  You probably assumed I had forgotten about all the great memories.  You probably wondered why my folks returned to California but my sister and I never did.  You probably thought I was too busy.

Too busy for you.  Too far away to care.  

That wasn't true.  I'm so sorry.

My heart is broken.

Why are we so convinced that we have "needs" that should come before people we love??

I need to do this.  I need to become this.  I need to achieve this.

All of the things we "NEED" to do and "NEED" to be and "NEED" to be successful at...the things that we "NEED" to do before we are there for our family.......

Those NEEDS can go to hell.

Why do we only realize what is truly important when they are gone??

I'll miss you forever.

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."  Phil 4:4-7 NLT

1 comment:

  1. Heart wrenching but real. Sometimes you just have to write it out. Thinking about you.