rambling on

| | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (1)

Last night we had to pick up the phone and call our five kids who have left home, to tell them their cousin Sophia had died. Five phone calls - and then waiting up until our youngest got home from being out with her friends to tell her. Six times to tell our children that a parent's worst nightmare had happened to their cousin. It still seems like a nightmare to me. When will I wake up and realize that it didn't happen? That the deaths of this year and all the other tragedies are just the result of indigestion? But I know that it is real. I sit here looking out my window at the sunflowers that are the sole survivors of one garden patch. I see the bluejays and the finches flying into and out of the hedge and the woods. I feel the itchiness of my healing cat scratches and realise that, yes, I am awake, and yes, this did really happen.
I come from a large family, mostly centered in Southern California. Members of my family settled in Caliornia in the 1800s, and most of my extended family is still there, scattered between Los Angeles and San Diego. For nearly 30 years, all the kin on my dad's side of the family tried to get together twice a year - a summer picnic, and a Christmas party. I'm the oldest in my generation. Sometimes we would be joined by some distant cousins, and sometimes even members of my mom's side would join in. It was riotous from time to time. Any where from 30 to 50 persons from 4 generations talking, playing games, hanging out - I am glad that my kids had the chance to see some of their relations at least once or twice a year. My cousin Cheryl (now the artistic director of the Fern Street Circus usually showed up in clown costume at some time during the festivities. We actually tried to schedule the picnic so as not to conflict with the circus, but didn't always succeed. Christmas was a little easier, and we often had the other circus members hanging out with us. Cheryl brought her kids (including Sophia) up in the circus. My niece Rebecca, a talented gymnast, started performing with the circus as a young teen.
I remember sitting down with a couple of kids and explaining just how they were related to each other. The grownups kept good track of the minutiae of "1st cousin, once removed" vs "second cousin". The kids just said "my cousin", kind of like the Hawaiian concept of calabash cousins. Family - sometimes squabbling, sometimes with bitter rivalries and sometimes with incredible generosities - some members added by blood, and some by marriage, friendship, or adoption. The last few years have been tough on family ties, as we have all begun to scatter across the USA and haven't been able to get together just to celebrate being a family. My sister (Rebecca's mom) and I both had the experience of moving away from our kids, instead of the usual event where the kids move out while the folks stay put. I can't just get in the car and drive a few hours to visit the kinfolk. Last year, we took 3 weeks and still didn't manage to visit everyone we wanted to. This year, we took a week and saw fewer still. Did manage to visit the most aged members of the family but figured that there would be time, time later, to visit the kids. And there wasn't time. I always thought the late-night phone call would be to tell me that Gram had died - or that one of my parents was critically ill - but 14 years old? In this day and age, NO ONE expects a child to die. But they do, they do. I guess that is why the church encourages us to contemplate the end things frequently - and why the phrase from the bedtime prayer "If I should die before I wake" needs to remain intact. We are born to die - and only God in His eternal 'now' knows the time and circumstances.

1 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: rambling on.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://mt.stblogs.org/cgi/mt-tb.cgi/7490

14 from Vociferous Yawpings on September 7, 2004 11:42 AM

Just getting back into the swing of things again. I had come up with several ideas for new posts, and there were a couple of things that hit my in-box that are too funny to pass up. Then there’s the... Read More


I wish I could say something meaningful but one never can about the death of a child. My best friend died in France a few years ago because someone without a licence got drunk and helped himself to a car outside a pub. For a long time the "stupidity" of his death hurt as much as the death itself. For some reason I thought Sophia had a disease but when I read down to the part about the reckless driver I almost cried. I know it's all God's will but there always seems to be a difference, to me, between disease and human stupidity.

February 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28    
The WeatherPixie

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by alicia published on September 4, 2004 9:00 AM.

update was the previous entry in this blog.

more is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.