My cousin Kim stood, graveside, holding 2 flowers over the 7 month baby bump under her black dress. Two roses. One was red and the other was pink. One was for her, and the other for baby Mackenzie. It was time to lay to rest her husband, and the father Mackenzie will only know through the stories and photos a strong community will share with her forever.
Exactly a week earlier we gathered together in joyful celebration to shower Kim and Nando with love for Baby Mackenzie, due in November. Little pink clothes, laughter, anticipation and love for a baby they waited so long to have.
The next day he was gone. That fast.
He was one of five children, and part of a large family.
My family, Kim’s family is large as well. Our fathers were brothers, in a family of 9 children, and although mine passed away in 2013, the love shared by all runs deep. We are close to 30 first cousins thick. The second cousins are starting to increase in number.
I sat in the funeral home in stunned silence most of the time. But, the room was crowded, the lines were long, and the hugs and tears were all genuine.
I didn’t know Nando as well as many others. As a matter of fact, I wish I had known him better. Clearly, judging by community response and turnout, he carried the same heart as my cousin Kim in his larger than life body.
I can’t make a bit of sense out of any of it. So I have to lean on my faith, and do whatever I can to offer support. Sometimes tragedy just is…
Kim is strong, almost stoic. She is a mother already, carefully shielding my newest little cousin from the anguish in her heart. This beautiful baby will bring joy to so many.
We do not know the hour…
Tomorrow is not promised on this earth…
When we talk about #beatingcowdens, we talk about vigilance. We talk about a warning system. We already know what we are up against. So often I can’t help but wonder how many people would give anything to have had warning.
It’s all perspective. Sometimes I have to pause here and tell a story that is not about us. That is not about Cowden’s Syndrome.
There is a generosity of spirit that lives in so many. I witnessed it last week in a community outpouring of love.
My Uncle put it into words about his son-in-law.
Although I am not surprised.
I have received that generosity of spirit from Kim and Nando, and the family so many times.
Pay it forward. The idea that you do good things with no expectation of repayment. That’s how they live. This week we got to witness a little bit of the good that comes from living life for others.
More than one person my cousin works with, sat with me at the funeral parlor to ask about Meghan and I. I didn’t know them. They knew of our story through Kim.
Currently our fundraiser for the PTEN Foundation is scheduled for 10/28. I contacted my Aunt, and asked if we should cancel. I needed to know if it was too close. I would never ever want to be disrespectful.
Don’t cancel. Kim plans to be there.
I guess that’s just what family does for each other. And there is always plenty of room at our table.
Pull up a chair. We’re in it for the long haul- together.