Wednesday, July 24, 2013

100th post: My thoughts after the passing of my cousin Shelly

For my 100th post I wish to pay a small tribute to my cousin Shelly, and to a smaller extent, my family, and even smaller extent to those of you who are close enough friends that you might as well be family

Today, my cousin Shelly passed away.  It wasn't totally a surprise because I was told a few days back just how bad her health was, and how it was getting worse.  Still, it’s always sad when family passes away.
When I heard about her health I started to think about my memories of Shelly.  Now to be fair, we are about 5-6 years apart, so we weren't particularly close, so coming up with memories took a little longer than I would have liked, but I came up with some random ones.  After looking at those memories I realized I had no definitive Shelly memory – which made me feel pretty bad.  I can remember totally random things like seeing her at a local baseball game once in St. George, or different family gatherings (generally around holidays) but nothing that came across as amazing.

After feeling a little guilty for a while, I started to think about other cousins, and then aunts and uncles, and even my immediate family – and then I realized something: I may have more memories with family who are closer in age, or lived closer to me geographically (meaning I had more contact with them), but I can’t think of any definitive memory of any family member.  I mean sure, I remember big special events (sometimes with way too much detail), but those aren't the definitive memory of one single person.  I have lots of memories involving lots of people, and that’s what makes them great – having lots of people you care about in life around you enough that there are no defining memories.  So for those of you that don’t have a defining memory in my mind, I want to say thanks for being around enough that you moved above having a defining memory.  I appreciate it.

Now, back to Shelly.  Like I said before, we weren't close in age – which unfortunately means we weren't close in general.  But here is what I can tell you.  First and foremost, I need to work on being a better family member be it cousin, nephew, brother, son, husband (you can add “-in-law” to all those words as well [except husband, that doesn't make sense]), because as I sit here, I can’t tell you much about her.  What I can tell you is that she has been living in Washington for a while and has two kids.  I can’t remember their names (like I said, I need to be a better family member) but I do remember that whenever I would hear about Shelly and her kids, it was always good things, about how much she loved them and would try hard to be a good mom.  You might think, “Well all moms try hard” and I would say that you’re probably right, but given just how hard of a life Shelly has had, that is no small accomplishment.  Truthfully, I might not even know 5% of all the stuff that she went through, but I know it was a lot – which makes the fact that she tried that much even more impressive.

I will say I'm embarrassed about some of the things I don't know about Shelly (or even my other family) and that I wish had more memories of her and others, but I appreciate the lesson that I was taught while remembering her.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Sanford’s.  It’s got to be an incredibly hard time on them, and I hope they are able to make it through.  And finally, I would like to encourage whoever is reading this to go out and A) be a good family member or friend and B) make enough memories with your loved ones that they don’t have one definitive memory.