I lost a cousin today. You can't ever be ready for it, even when you answer the phone and know.
Travis and I were inseparable in our early years. I remember the day that he shot a neighborhood turkey with a slingshot; we considered it a victory over terrorism. Long Texas summers went so fast, playing in the yards our houses shared, and later, when his family moved in with our grandmother, we would scandalize the GI Joe norms by turning the Indian into a girl, you know, because of the long braid. We got older and he moved away, going years between reunions. It's funny, our lives took different paths, but when we'd see each other the strength and tradition of family would be stronger than the years apart.
I last saw him at Christmas. It was a good day, a rich day of laughter and family. I didn't know, of course, that it would be the last time I saw him. I wonder, if we were privy to that information, how we would act differently, how our casual familiarity would carry the weight of that boundary. I think in some ways it's a mercy that we don't know.
I can't imagine never seeing him again, never watching him get old in sync with me, never celebrating another holiday, another milestone. I will miss you, my precious cousin.