Yesterday my family and I lost my darling cousin, Kim. It was very sudden and we’re all still in shock. And so I’m asking for your indulgence in allowing me to honor the life of someone so dear to me today. Actually, it’s not very much even “today” yet; it’s actually very, very early in the morning, however, my eyes keep spilling and any kind of “peaceful” slumber eludes me and so I’m taking this time to share my memories.
This beautiful girl was born exactly six months ahead of me. As children she never let me forget it. As adults, I never let her forget it! As children, we called her Kimi. If we did that in front of her face after age 25 or so, she’d correct us and asked us to call her Kim (so behind her back, we referred to her as Kimi anyway). As a child, she seemed to be sick a lot and so while we played tag and hide-and-seek outside, she’d enviously watch us through the window and smile and wave when permitted. As an adult, she out ran and out “fitnessed” all of the rest of us put together!
I remember before I could read, she would take the comics from my Grandfather’s newspaper and we’d lie on our bellies under the dining room table while she read Beatle Bailey to me using different voices and accents for each of the characters. Admiringly, I watched as her eyes scanned the paper and I thought she was so much smarter than me………she was.
When she turned 8 or 9, her family moved from a few doors down from my Grandparent’s house in the San Fernando Valley to San Diego and we didn’t see as much of each other until we learned to drive and even then, it was mostly during special occasions. However, as we cousin’s started having each of our own families, we realized how special our early years had been together and we wanted the same for our children. We are blessed to share an Uncle and Aunt who wisely started a “Cousin’s Reunion” every summer in San Clemente for the past 15 +/- years and so now, not only do the “Cousins” get to share good times, but the “2nd Cousin"s get to as well. None of us makes a lot of money, but we consider ourselves gloriously RICH for having such a legacy.
Had I known that last July was the last time I’d see my precious Kim, I think I would have told her how much I have always looked up to her; she would have got a kick out of that. I would have told her how proud I am to be a part of her family. I would have said I admire how her beautiful face exudes joy every time she enters a room and that I’ll never forget the sound of her laugh. I would have praised her resilience and how freely she loves. I would have applauded her unyielding, undying, unending, tenacious devotion to her 2 teenage boys, for I know that she is FIERCELY PROUD of them. Lastly, I would have told her that I love her and I would have hugged her one last, long, lingering moment. Then I would have kissed her a hundred times and then………..maybe then………I’d release her.
Kim, as hard as it’s going to be, I will release you. I will release you because it’s better if you go. But for tonight……and maybe even tomorrow night……and maybe for many nights to follow, I will still hold on to you tightly. And when I’m finally able to fall asleep again, I will be dreaming that I’m giving you a hundred kisses.
-Tessa L. Charles