Unexpected Family

Dear Liza,

This spring, our family lost several dear members. My Auntie Bea, her baby brother (my Uncle Rodney), and his wife Barbara all passed away. They had been sick for a while and it was not unexpected. Still, a big part of our family history went with them.

My Aunt Veralene, the baby of the family, is all that is left of that generation. Of my own generation, there are still many cousins with us. And the other day, I met a new one! I will explain.

Uncle Rodney and Aunt Barbara had one son, Mike. He was about 15 years younger than me, so we didn’t know each other well. He grew up, got married, and had children, and I was only dimly aware of it. He got divorced and married again and had another child. And then, tragically, when that child, Mykie, was 17, Mike passed away.

This spring, when Rodney and Barbara passed away, I got in contact with their daughter -in-law, my cousin Mike’s widow, Dawna. We chatted online back and forth as she was trying to clear up the stacks of paperwork that happen when folks die. Quite a while had passed since we talked.

Then, out of the blue, I woke up this week wondering how she was, and sent her a text.

It turned out that she was bringing her child, Mykie, who is now a young adult, up to Portland for a doctor’s visit this week. I asked if we could meet somewhere.

Happily, it worked out. The two of them drove across town and met me at Laurelhurst Park, and we got to visit, exchange philosophies and family stories, and get to know each other. They brought Mykie’s cat, Juney, who travels with them in a backpack that is like a mobile home. He was so excited to be outside!

One of the kids at the park was pretty excited, too. He came over to visit and we all had a laugh.

After a while we hugged and said good-bye, and I headed off to meet Grandpa Nelson and Auntie Bridgett for pizza. I am really happy to have this new cousin in my life!

Love,

Grandma Judy