Becky Says...

August 22, 2000

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I got word today that my cousin Bill has died. He was 81, and had had a good life. We will miss him.

Bill was the area patriarch on my mom's side of the family. He provided me with a lot of knowledge about that side of my background. And he gave me one of the more meaningful rites of passage in family terms one year at Christmas.

My mother and I were at the family dinner, and Bill was tending bar. He offered me a drink, which he had not done before that year. It signified in his eyes I was a grown-up. I was in my late twenties at the time. And from that point on, he treated me as an adult. I wasn't "just" Mary's child anymore. I tried hard to live up to that honor.

The day after my mother's funeral, I was at Bill's house. His wife was at work, and we were sitting in the kitchen, reminiscing. At some point during that conversation, I realized he had decided I was taking my mother's place. I knew I didn't need to say that to him, but I knew we both knew. And it was good. I took it as a tribute to my mother.

I'm not sure how in the world we're going to get through the aftermath of his death without him around to talk with about it.

But we will, because to do otherwise would dishonor his memory.

Text copyright 2000 Becky