I can’t sleep.
Tomorrow (today? It’s is after midnight… Today) we bury my cousin.
She had brain cancer, and she fought so hard. I’m really messed up by this.
Growing up, Diana was that cool older cousin you just hoped against hope that you could maybe possibly be something like. She was, to the day, 15 years older than me. Our mothers are sisters. And close ones. Many of my earliest memories involve Diana and her family.
First bridal shower I went to? Diana’s.
First wedding I remember? Dean and Diana’s.
First baby I remember coming into the family? Diana’s daughter.
I always looked forward to seeing her because she was always kind and always tried to make me feel welcome and loved.
She was definitely a role model and pillar of my early life.
And I don’t think she ever knew how much she meant to me.
After all, I was the snot-nosed little cousin who was always underfoot.
Which, I think, is probably what most of my cousins on that side of the family remember me as. I’m the youngest of 54 grandchildren. Everyone knew who I was.
Just not everyone made room for me when at family functions.
Being autistic, I wasn’t good at large family gatherings. They were loud (my family is VERY loud), and they were overwhelming. I wanted to be a part of everything, but it was scary and I spent a lot of my time just trying to understand why everything was so noisy and busy.
And the cousins who I knew best, like Diana and her sisters, were busy with the cousins of their age and didn’t want me underfoot.
To be fair, I’m sure my brothers and parents felt similar.
This is why I’m so torn on this death. Diana was simultaneously a major figure in my life, and someone I didn’t know nearly as well as I would have liked.
Hell, Mom and Dad have lived in the same city as her for the last 3 years, and we hardly ever saw her. Our lives were just so busy. And then, she was also fighting cancer and tired.
So tomorrow I bury my cousin, and my heart just can’t handle it.
The worst part is that this will end up being a mini-reunion. Mom is having all the attending family over for a BBQ afterwards.
And instead of quiet mourning, I’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of people and the noise.
Just like every other family reunion.
And I’ll have no sleep on top of that.
I’m going to have to prepare an exit strategy to avoid shutdowns or meltdowns.
Today I bury my cousin, and I am dreading it.