A somewhat unusual event occurred yesterday.
I got a letter in the mail--a handwritten letter.
I still get handwritten notes from time to time, even the occasional letter from a particular friend who does not own a computer, tablet, cell phone. (Can you imagine? Perhaps I should have said peculiar friend.) I suppose that is all quite telling about my age. This letter was from a younger cousin, though.
His mom, my aunt, is the last of my known extended family's "parental generation." It also is alarmingly telling of my age that now I am being too often informed of the death or serious illness of someone who is part of my generation. This is requiring a bit of adjustment on my part. The letter was not about his mom who is 91 years old. It was about his older sister, the cousin I was closest to growing up.
My cousin was exactly a year older than I, but in the early dementia mind of my own mother, Mom was convinced that J. was my daughter. That speaks to a link between us that somehow survived, however faultily, as my mom's neural connections unraveled.
My cousin is completely deaf from birth. There were other organ anomalies only hinted at amongst the adults, never shared with "the kids." Still, my cousin was well supported by her family. She was able to get an education, hold down a job, live independently until neuropathy limited her mobility several years ago. The decline has progressed. She will be going into a nursing home and the outlook is not good.
I am so very saddened by this news. And my cousin who wrote to me, being the one who lives nearby, bears a huge burden. My heart is wrenched.