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I hardly knew you

My mother's cousin Lynda is just about centered in age between my mom and me. When Momma was young, before she was out of high school, used to babysit for Lynda, nursed her through meningitis...they were very close. Lynda was always slightly glamorous to me. When I was young she worked at the Bank of Utica, which made her very sophisticated in my eyes. She was always lovely, and funny, and kind. And she was Aunt Ann and Uncle Pete's daughter, which made her magical, not to mention she was my godfather's little sister.

When I was in high school she got engaged to a Vietnam vet, Dennis Padula. Dennis reminded me a little of my Uncle Pete (both short, Italian Uticans with a stocky build), but I never knew him well. I remember their wedding in St. Anne's in North Utica like it was yesterday. Afterwards my dad had to drive me back to Morrisville for the 9th grade fashion show and Spring concert, then he turned right back around to drive back to Utica for the lovely, elegant, evening wedding reception. I was bitter about missing it, but, well, the show had to go on. (Missed my Senior Dinner Dance for similar reasons, but I digress).

Lynda and Dennis had four children--Dennis, Peter, Joseph, and Renata. Dennis is gay, and a singer with his own band in NYC. Joey and Peter each got married and became fathers, and Renata's been married and has, I think, two children. Maybe more. I'm bad about family. Never got the knack, nor the taste for it. There was always too much underlying hostility. The only relatives we ever visited where it felt safe was Uncle Pete and Aunt Ann's (not my grandmother's, not my aunt's, only there), and once they were gone, it all fell away. Lynda would like us to be closer, but it just never seems to happen. My fault, not hers.

From things on my cousin Dennis's Facebook page, I think Dennis senior died today. He's been fighting lung cancer. He's another victim of our friend Mr. Orange's appearance during his time in Southeast Asia.

So there are calling hours in my future. And a funeral. Lynda is going to be a wreck, and strong, and all the things in between. I would hate this to be the thing that finally makes us close. But it may. Or things may just go on as they have. But I will go, and there will be family.

It's complicated, but as Gibbs would say, "It's family. Always is."


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Feb. 1st, 2013 02:38 am (UTC)
:-< I hate the whole dying thang we all have to face, over and over and over until it's our turn. Someone come up with a better solution!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )