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I lost my cousin this week. Today was his funeral. I tried to prepare myself for this event.

It turns out there is no possible way to prepare oneself for a funeral.

Grief. Loss. A misery so profound when his surviving mother wailed out loud how she lost him. It filled the chamber, cutting through all those in attendance.

A dagger in the heart.

Life took him along a different path then mine; our paths diverged. When I knew him, he had a ready smile and a quick wit. A sense of humour that made him popular and well regarded by all. An athlete as well, baseball by choice.

I have to admit, I was jealous. I did not have that natural charm and grace that he seemed to so effortlessly exude. That pointed to my own personal insecurities however, and I have been working on those since those days.

I had not seen him in some time. Weeks became months, months became years. Life kept pushing us onwards. It was only his passing that brought us together again.

It is my shame to admit that. Family has always been a point of friction in my sense of self. I needed to withdraw in order to find some manner of healing within.

At his funeral, I learned how much had experience he had accumulated in his life. He had a family of his own now. A son, tall and proud. He looks so much like his father. He travelled. He climbed a mountain.

He battled his own demons. Sometimes he won. Sometimes the demons won.

I did not know any of this. How could I have missed those moments? Why didn’t we connect beforehand?

Before it was too late?

So I listened, to his friends, to his family, as they talked of his achievements. I listened to the elders as they spoke of journey into the next stage of his existence. He is now surrounded by his siblings who preceeded him, by his ancestors. They said he was home now.

He was a good man. I miss him. I could have learned from him.

During the ceremony, there came a time where the speaker asked if anyone wanted to stand and speak of his experience with him. The chamber was silent but for the occasional sniffs of the tearful. I clenched my hands on the pew in front of me. My feelings were bursting, my sadness was overwhelming.

I said nothing.

My thoughts were spinning around my head, memories of our times together, the sound of his laughter, his easy going nature. Times I’ll never have again. He was gone. He is gone,

Just gone.

Something inside me needed to be heard. These words demanded to be written. My cousin is gone, but he will be remembered.

Thank you Jeff.

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