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In Focus

Family is important. Staying connected with them is also important. I may not be the best at it but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about them often.

About two years ago I was able to find a long-lost cousin. We were ecstatic to connect and learn about each other. She knew a little about this side of her family and was eager to learn more. She lives in Washington state and, thanks to the pandemic, and her working in the medical field, it has been near impossible for us to actually meet in person. Someday we will. Thankfully, she’s been able to meet some of the other aunts and uncles in the meantime.

Back when I was probably about eight years old, my mom and I traveled to my aunt and uncle’s in Thousand Oaks, California to meet my uncle’s daughters from a previous relationship. I was just a kid and don’t remember much. I know they were young adults, one having a young daughter of her own. And they lived in Texas. That was my only recollection of ever meeting them or speaking with them.

Just a few days ago I received a message on Facebook from a woman who said she believed I was her cousin. Her name rang a bell and I asked if she was my uncle’s daughter. She was. She was also looking to learn more about this side of the family. She didn’t even know our grandparents' names or how many aunts, uncles and cousins she has on this side. It was deja vu for me, having just gone through this with the other cousin. Ironically, they both have the same first name as well.

I was happy to catch up with her, learn about her life and just generally reconnect. She said speaking with my uncle, her father, was awkward. I totally understand that myself. I didn’t speak to my dad for over 10 years. I don’t think they speak regularly but who knows, that may change now.

This newly discovered cousin of mine is on a mission to collect family history. She also learned that my aunt, her step-mom, has been placed in a nursing home. And my uncle, her dad, essentially is home alone. Who knows, it may prompt her to reach out. It’s something only she can do...if she her own time.

All this is making me realize how little I actually know about my family’s history. I think it’s time for that to change. I think it is also time to get everyone together for an actual family reunion. This side of the family is not very big but we are all spread out location-wise. There is family I haven’t seen in a couple of years and now three cousins I need to meet...a family reunion needs to be planned in the near future!

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