I got word from family yesterday that my cousin came through her surgery with flying colors. She will know the results of the biopsy in a few days, and, at the tender young age of 87, she will stay in the hospital for about a week before going home. I hope that there is good news when the lab results come back, but I am a realist, and I know that cancer attacks people who have never been in high-risk groups such as my cousin. It is an evil and indiscriminate killer.
Thinking about my cousin having surgery days after turning 87 has me thinking about where time goes once we experience it? I can clearly see in my mind the visits to her when I was a child. She is 33 years older than I am, this is the result of being the offspring of the youngest of my Dad’s clan of 11 kids. It seems that an entire generation skipped when it comes to my cousins. All of them are much older than I am.
I remember getting to know her, and she was already an adult, teaching at an elementary school. We were never close like most cousins due to the age differential, but we shared a bond because Mom and Dad had helped to raise her in the years long before I was born. In fact, Mom and Dad helped her to attend college at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN and get a start on her own life. Therefore, she has always seen me as special because of the kindness that my parents showed to her when she was a little girl and a young woman.
When my Dad died in 1981, she was there to comfort me, but I could see that she was just as upset as I was. We ended up comforting each other. When Mom died in 2001, she was there once again. She feels like a much closer relative than just a cousin who is 33 years older than I am.
She has her own children and grandchildren now, and they are all wonderful people who care about her more than I can because they are much closer. It doesn’t diminish the bond that we share. My life took me away from western Kentucky many years ago, and I have done well for myself. I still think about her on a regular basis, and she was so relieved when I called her on her birthday.
I am relieved that the surgery was successful. I will be waiting to hear from her kids about how things turn out and when she might be going home from the hospital. If she indicates that she wants to see me, I will take time off and travel to visit her, but I don’t want to be a burden on her or her family. Her children are all older than I am, and it has been many years since we last saw each other. This is the generational gap that I mentioned before on full display.
Cancer is a killer, Time is ruthless. Each will have its way, and there isn’t much we can do to change either of them. I will keep her in my thoughts and get on with my life and hope that I will be as well-remembered when I reach the age of 87.