So it's really over. The funeral was Wednesday. ( I didn't go, it was out east and I did not have the time to leave work). Even after all the stress and weirdness of the last year, it's bizarre to have it be finished. We are dog sitting for my folks and every time we walk into the house and I see the room door closed, it takes me a minute to realize she is not there behind it. It's strange not to think she might come shuffling down the hall, or call out like she did once she stopped being mobile. There's nothing back there but an empty bed and the closed door.
It nice being able to take my mom out the house, to be able to look at things with her without an ear open. If we want to sit in the kitchen and talk, there is no anticipation of hearing footsteps, "yoo hoo," or "help."
I talked to my cousin on the phone on Tuesday night. I have never met her in person. Ever. I cannot describe what she looks like. I think I may have seen a picture of her when she was younger. I called her for my mom because their cell phone was freaking out. It was a surreal conversation. She is my dad's older brother's daughter. I never met him either. He passed away when I was 14. Before that, he had been wandering the earth -- having come back from VietNam a mess and not able to deal with the world. He saw my younger brother at birth, but never laid eyes on my sister or myself. So it's similar to reading the dust jacket of a book or making up a story to the snap shots you find on the street.
She told me my grandmother was the only person who ever showed her warmth or nurturing. It was the strangest sentence to hear. Really? Warmth? Nurturing? This woman who I have heard say some darn vile things. Vile things about her to be honest. Not that I would bring that up ever. It's not my business to taint her memory or cause her pain. I did have to suppress the thoughts running through my head. Because my uncle was a mess and her mother had issues and walked out -- she had lived in foster homes. Apparently it was bad. She told me my grandmother had been kind to her.
What crossed my mind was "if she cared so much why didn't she take you out of foster care?" Not a fair question and none of my business but I could help it. This made sense knowing the woman that I did. Maybe it's true and she was warm to her. Maybe there was something about my cousin that made her behave differently than any other interaction I had ever had -- even before she came to live with us.
It will be interesting to see what happens from here. I took her email address and we will be in contact. Perhaps I will gain something about my family that I didn't know. Something other than the made up stories based on snap shots.