Today my cousin Susan passed away. I didn't know she was even in the hospital, though I don't know if I would have visited even if I knew. She had been in and out of the hospital for about as long as I could remember and always came out pretty much unfazed. If anyone could have survived out of pure stubbornness it would have been her. My "aunt" Susan was always amazing to me, always very small with a raspy voice full of bite and wit. She could be sharp and stinging as a whip but kind and gentle as well. She cared for her animals and they worshiped her. Her kids were screwed up but she still loved them and took care of them as best she could. When I was a kid I always felt like the outcast in the family. I wasn't part of the close family that spent all their time together, I looked different from all my cousins, I was quieter and my parents weren't as lenient as theirs. The cousins my age pretty much treated me as such and didn't really want me around much. I still kind of get that from them but never from Susan. She was always happy to see me and if I wasn't at a gathering she would hassle my mother and demand I be at the next one. She always told me I was her favorite and though I am pretty sure she told all the cousins that it really meant something to me. She always made me feel valued and that not everyone felt I was the freak of the family. I feel like I let her down not getting to see her in so long. I only went with Coy once to clean her house, missed Easter because I was working, I missed the last two funerals because of work. It has made me realize I need to put my family in front of work because if I keep putting work first I will loose out on spending time with people who are way more important to me.
I still can't believe she is gone. I don't think any family gathering will ever feel the same. I wonderful if I will ever feel comfortable at a family gathering again, she always made me feel so protected and welcome. She was always so sweet to me and in her own way, to everyone else. I will miss her hugs, her personality, her fighting spirit and her sense of humor. I am very happy, though, that she is no longer in pain, she no longer has any worries, is with her husband and can smoke and drink as much as she pleases without any worries!