Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Cousin Charlotte

     The Christmas lights were being untangled and strung on my tree when I was told Charlotte had passed from this world into the one of angels. It was hard to believe because I thought she would be with us forever, and felt great sadness that I had taken our time together for granted. It was dark and I was alone putting ornaments on the tree's branches, unwrapping each one with careful hands. Some were new, some were old, gifts from the past and home made. Memories of Charlotte was my only company that night and I pretended that if she was an ornament, she'd be the shining star on top because that's where you put the cousin who always made fourth of July a party! Fire cracker Charlotte who came to the rescue for us kids when there weren't fireworks shows and how I'd overhear the older relatives say that she probably had spent a fortune. That was her way I think, to give out loud with homemade ice cream, over the top deserts in a summer yellow sleeveless dress with her big earrings and her hair piled high in a hip bun. She was older than me and always had painted nails with tiny flower paintings on them or animal stripes, depending on her mood. We knew she was a nurse but for some reason, she didn't talk about that part of her world to us. Her time with cousins was best spent enjoying  pizza at the Pizza Hut when she let me order a large coke. We loved when she took a liking to jewelry and candy making because she shared! She also shared kisses, raspberries on the babies tummies that followed under arm tickling and hiccup laughter. 
  If my brother was here now, he would tell you how she opened his heart to animals. After the birth of my mom's fifth child, another girl, Charlotte knew the only boy in the family, my brother, would be outnumbered and possibly frustrated that no brother besides himself had been produced. So firecracker Charlotte came to our house with an apple bushel basket and a little puppy inside! We were goofy excited to see that little reddish brown dog and took turns holding him but Charlotte made it clear that Bullet, belonged to my brother. She surely knows how far her kind deed went, hopefully the angels tell her about my brother's love of dogs to this day. So much so that at one time I think he had twelve of them of every size. Dogs that wouldn't have had a home without my brother's love. 
   I believe this life is held together with the kindnesses of others and we may not all have the same stories but we do share the same feelings. My Christmas lights twinkle and I don't mind how long they took me to untangle, they remind me of family. All of us braided into each other, hard to separate and held together by a single cord. Thank you Charlotte for every moment with you and all your fingerprints you've left behind.


  1. Ooh Sandy, I'm so sorry for your loss.

    1. thank you Lynn, she was someone special to many people. :)

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