I received a phone call a while ago from Cliff's younger sister. She had just gotten off the phone with an aunt and learned that a cousin, Ellen, died yesterday.
We last saw Ellen in February when we attended a birthday party for the much-beloved Aunt Gertrude.
Not long before that, in January, we attended Ellen's mom's funeral.
Ellen was diabetic. She needed heart surgery, but her blood sugar was too high; so the doctors sent her home to try and get her blood sugar down. That's where she died.
I called Cliff at work to tell him. "We just saw her at Aunt Gertrude's birthday party," I told him.
"That's how we're all going to go, Babe," Cliff said.
"Well, I suppose so; you tried to go two years ago, but the doctors prevented that."
He chuckled, and we said our goodbyes.
And that's what I hate about being this age; cousins start dying like flies.
A person can be the worst spoiled brat in the world and have very few "people skills", but her cousins accept her, because they have to. Friends scatter and disappear, but cousins reappear in your life over and over. Even if only at funerals. Even if they perhaps remind you that you used to scratch their arms with your long fingernails when you scuffled with them back in 1955.
Except for one special-needs cousin on Mother's side and one on my dad's side (Cecil Wayne), I still have most of my cousins; and I don't want to lose more, any time soon. But it's started.
OK, I'm depressed. There's no need to make everybody else feel sad; I'll be back tomorrow with something more upbeat.