My wish for everyone in tribeland is that their holiday was better than mine was. I thought mine was going to stink no matter what-I got roped into doing the whole dinner and all that jazz. Then I get a phone call from my mother that just wrecked the whole deal-she calls to tell me that my cousin Lee just died that morning. He was the same age as me-and in better health than I am(so I thought)! That was Thursday. Now I have to get up at 6am on Christmas morning, drag my kids out of bed, drive to mom's house, then drive to Michigan the same day. 6 hours total in the car! I was practically catatonic by the time we got there. Of course the whole family is there, wailing and screaming and getting drunk. It's tough enough to deal with these people on a good time, much less than a death.

A word about the family too- they don't know about my status in any way- so it's all hush-hush the whole time you are around them. Sneak your pills so they don't know what you are taking(it's vitamins works well for me), throw up in privacy if possible, never say the word AIDS, be sick on your own time, etc…. In other words, a big fat drag!!!!! The family up there are the perfect ones, you know the ones I mean. I have been compared to my cousin Kelly my entire life! Why can't you be more like Kelly, why can't you go to college and become a teacher like Kelly, why can't you marry a "normal guy" like Kelly, etc….with monotonous regularity those phrases went through my life.

We didn't get home until late Tuesday night and had to drive home in a white out-of course the first real snow of the season! While it was horrible to have to be there for that reason, I am grateful that I got to say goodbye to him. I haven't seen him in 3 years, but I have all the memories of us growing up together and I am satisfied with those. While we didn't know anyone else at the funeral(over 200 there), we know the special place he had with us and he will be sorely missed. It did teach me one thing, NEVER take anyone or whatever time you have in your life. Be grateful everyday for the ones who mean the most to you, and tell them that everyday-you never know when it will be the last time.

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