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When you lose a cousin, none of your friends understand what you’re going through. If they heard that you lost a sister or a brother or a father, they would expect you to break down crying in their arms.
But when it’s a cousin, they ask if you two were close, if you saw them anytime recently. They assume that you two are bonded by blood and nothing else, because they only see their cousins once or twice a year during family parties.
They have no idea how close you are with your family. They have no idea how much your cousin meant to you. How your cousin was just like a sibling to you.
They were there during your annoying kid years. During your awkward teenage years. They might have even held you as a baby, or vice vera. You watched each other grow up. You became adults together. And you should have reached retirement age together.
When you lose a cousin, it’s impossible to process what has happened. In the past, you have lost grandparents and aunts and uncles, and it was devastating. Crushing. Heartbreaking. But there was comfort in the fact that they accomplished so much, they saw so much, they left so much behind.
But losing someone so young just doesn’t feel right. It feels like you heard the news wrong. Like someone is going to call you up any second now and explain that there was a huge mix-up, a big misunderstanding.
When you lose a cousin, you keep thinking about how it doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make any sense that they’re dead when you just saw them a little while ago. It doesn’t many any sense that someone as nice as them would be taken away this early. It doesn’t make sense for them to die when they haven’t finished living yet, when they’ve barely even started.
When you lose a cousin, you reevaluate your own life, your own mortality, because their age wasn’t that far off from yours. It could have been you inside of the casket, inside of that urn.
Their death makes you feel like you need to start living more in order to honor them, in order to make sure that your life means something. But you feel like a hypocrite, because at the same time, all you want to do is lock yourself in your room and cry.
When you lose a cousin, every holiday feels different due to their absence. Sure, some other family members aren’t there because they live out of state or are stuck at work or are visiting with their partner’s relatives instead — but this is different. This is different because you know that you aren’t going to see them again soon, that you can’t send them a text saying that you miss them and hope to hang out on New Years.
When you lose a cousin, you lose a family member. A friend. Someone who you loved (and still love, will always love) with every ounce of your broken heart.