My cousin died. The oldest person in our family and the last of her generation. She lived to be 96 years old. I am sadden for my family's loss but not a tear has fell from my eye for her. She was not an easy person to get along with. I always jokily said, "She only loved three people in her life". I was not one of those three people!
My cousin was born and raised in Kosciusko, Mississippi. A small town about an hour from the state's capital of Jackson. You could drive straight through the town in about 15 minutes, even if you stopped at every red light. Lenore* was the oldest of two daughters. She was a strong-willed child and clashed constantly with her mother. You see her mother didn't like her because she was not light-skin. My cousin knew this and like most non-favorite children she worked hard to please her mother. No matter what she did, she could never win her mother's love. Imagine the pain of knowing that the person who carried you for nine months, took one look at you at birth and did not fall instantly in love with you.
My cousin Lenore grew up finding love everywhere else but in her mom's arm. She would stand in the shadow and see how her mom would laugh and play with her younger sister but never had a kind word to say to her. This type of pain forms a knot in a person's heart. Only the love of God can untie that knot. So Lenore carried this hurt and pain all her life. She could be cold hearted at times and she wasn't free with her love.
For four years as a child, I lived with her. When I tell you that I couldn't wait to move out of her house, it is the understatement of the year. I remember her telling me about the time she got sick and the doctors didn't know what was wrong with her. She came back home for her mother to take care of her. Her mother put her in a chicken coop. She told her that she didn't want Lenore to give her brothers and sisters what she had. Her mother suspected Lenore might had tuberculosis which was very contagious. When Lenore's Aunt heard about the unsanitary conditions her niece was forced to live in, she came and got her. She gave her sister a good lashing as she took her niece home with her. Lenore's Aunt took care of her until she got better. My cousin had plenty stories of rejection and pain. As a child, I did not understand why Lenore took her hurt out on me. Here I was a motherless child who had lived with Lenore's mother for 14 years of my life. I too had grew up without a mother's love, why couldn't she understand that hurt was something I was familiar with. She didn't have to introduce me to it.
So back to the day she died, I look at the text message that simply said, "Grandma died". My heart grieved for my cousin's loss because he was one of the three she loved. She loved him, his sister and their mother. Their mother was her grandchild. I think about the woman who only had love in her heart for three people and I mourn her life. I mourn for the love she never received. I mourn for the love she never got a chance to give. I greatly mourn for the relationship we never had.
She lived her last days alone in a nursing home. She had fallen and her grandchildren placed her in a nursing home. Covid-19 caused her to die without seeing any of her loved ones. That disease also robbed her of her ability to eat or drink. She wasted away. I wished my cousin could have been surrounded by her loved ones and felt all the love we had for her. I didn't hate my cousin, I just knew that I was not welcomed with open arms in her space.
So today, I write this two days before her "10 people can only attend funeral" and I know I am going to cry when I see her. I am going to feel some kind of way. What will I feel, I don't know. Maybe I will weep for the grandchildren she didn't want a relationship with. Maybe I will weep for the one grandson who took care of her and she still cursed him out everyday. She never appreciated the sacrifice he made in taking care of her and his family. I pray my cousin has finally experienced the love she always wanted. I am sure Jesus met his beloved daughter at the heavenly gate and wrapped her in his arms. Until next time, stay safe!-Favorite Ruby Girl
*Name changed to protect identity