This past weekend was one of the best that I’ve had in a long time. I made the trek from Delaware to Virginia in about three hours with minimal traffic and (in a new record, ladies and gents) I only cussed out one or two cars on the way! Not too shabby for driving in the Delmarva area.
My voyage led me to my delightful, self-proclaimed “cupcake” cousin, Jess. Cupcake Moscato has been a staple in our relationship since I was freshly 21 and Jess, being the older cousin, instilled me with the obsession of this delicious sugar grape feast; thus our felicitous cousin adjective.
We had the BEST quality time driving around and shopping at Starbucks and Michaels and TJ Maxx (with a Home Goods attached!!!) and Ulta and Olive Garden and Target and buying all of the plush pillows and blankeys and makeup accessories. There were movies and snacks and wine and face masks and heartfelt conversations.
The kind of weekend that just rejuvenates your soul.
But it can’t all be sunshine and rainbows, kids.
Because on Tuesday, it happened. She was up for parole. And she got it.
To refresh your memories and for those who have not yet heard the tale, our family suffered an unbearable loss on Valentines Day in 2016.
Daniel was my beloved cousin and Jessica’s irreplaceable brother. His wife, Kayla, was charming and kind and soft spoken and they were on their way to celebrate their six month wedding anniversary on Valentines Day.
Then she hit them. She was on a cocktail of drugs and she knew that she shouldn’t have been on the road and she did it anyway because she was selfish and reckless and overslept the morning and afternoon through and had to get to work.
She doesn’t get a name here but she was given eight years for her crimes.
She has served two.
On Tuesday she was eligible for parole and our broken, convoluted, batshit, backwards system granted her release. She will be out in the Spring of 2020.
For two lives.
For the lives of a musician and artist, a brother and sister, a son and daughter, a husband and wife, a nephew and niece, two friends.
We grieve every day and we grieve even more for the injustice. Forgiveness is not my strongest quality and I hate her for what she has done. For what she has broken, for what she has taken, for what she does not understand. I can’t say that I wish her well because I don’t.
But my family is strong and we are rooted in each other and we are better when we’re together and this weekend I took that time to be with my cousin who is more than my cousin, she is my sister. Her pain is unfathomable and sometimes the words just don’t process through your body to provide that comfort or relief or distraction that you so badly want to provide.
I constantly struggle with how to feel and what kind of person that I want to be in reaction to hardships and it’s okay not to know. It’s okay to scream into your pillow one day and paint a butterfly the next. It’s okay to sit silently next to each other and just be there; just sit.
Bereavement doesn’t end because you want it to and it will never slow down because you have other things going on. It is constant and it is forever.
And it’s okay to not be okay.
To donate to the No Matter Of Miles Foundation and provide free financial support to parents and families who have experienced the death of a child, click here.