My cousin Meredith passed last week. She was 31 and passed on her daughter's 1st birthday. The funeral was yesterday---I flew to Minneapolis and back. I am so lucky to have such a supportive family and extended family. There were so many people from Youngstown there and I even had a high school friend on my flights. I'm realizing how fortunate I am to know the people I know and be from where I am from...
The night before I left, I ended up having a slice of pie and relaxing at a local coffee shop, Roots Cafe. The owner Jayme and his wife are from Alabama and it reminds me of Brady's Cafe from college where the regulars leave their mugs there. I'm lucky to have picked a neighborhood that really feels like one. I'm getting to know all the shop keepers, grocers, bartenders, etc.
On the plane home, it turned out that the two people in my row also lived in South Slope and so we shared a cab. Mr. Rad doesn't know how I do it, how I connect in this way. He thinks I should buy a lottery ticket. But I don't think I'm lucky in that way.
Yesterday the rabbi spoke of cousin Meredith as being the same, a person who brings people together. Maybe that is our family. Maybe that is Youngstown, or Ohio. Maybe I'll never really know what that is, but whatever it is, it is good. Mere, Jules and I share the same Hebrew name, Raizel, after our great grandma and so maybe it is her spirit infused in us.
Whatever it is, it is a blessing. One that I will carry with me as I bartend the two days I'm in town before AWP and while I'm at the conference and beyond.
I'll be 30 on Sunday. I don't feel it yet. And I've decided to post pone big celebrations, I'm not ready yet. So in April I'll acknowledge it properly. But for now, we're almost 30 and we're a little quiet about it.