Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fifty. Yes, fifty.

Wow. Another month has passed since my last post. Doesn't exactly make for an interesting read, now does it?

I honestly thought life was back on track there for a while, settling into some kind of normal routine. We helped Mom celebrate her 85th...
With her 12th great-grandchild...
Spent an afternoon with friends at Mt. Shasta Lavender Farms:
Unfortunately, we weren't to see the full glory of Mt. Shasta that's there in the clouds.But the new shop is beautiful!And, oh, the smell of all the fresh lavender. Heaven!

If you get to northern California between mid-June and mid-July in any year, I encourage you to make a stop at the farms. Take a picnic and enjoy the views of the Shasta Valley and the mountain. The sights and scents will do you good.

Yes, that was a lovely weekend, and we returned home with the expectation of settling back into the regular flow of the weekdays and weekends of a Bend summer. Then the phone started ringing.

In that last full week of June, two days apart, I lost two of my first cousins. One from each side of the family. Neither one expected. It's been hard. Really hard.

I'm part of a huge family. Loads of aunts and uncles on both sides of the family (Mom was one of seven; Dad one of eleven), many of whom had loads of children. I came along at the tail end of the generation, so it has become a fairly frequent occurrence that one of my aunts or uncles passes away...most into their 80's or 90's. I miss them all, but am grateful for the long, fulfilling lives they led and for the chance to have been able to know them and hear first-hand the stories and experiences of a Depression-era generation.

As a result of all those aunts and uncles (and I know what you're thinking, but no, they weren't all Catholic, and none of them were LDS...), I am one of 50 first cousins. Yes, you read that right. 27 on my Mom's side, 23 on my Dad's. I haven't recently made a count of these cousins' families, but I'm pretty sure if you put us all in one place we could incorporate a small city. I have my "go-to" cousins for a wide array of issues and advice. They are relatives, but they are also friends. Thankfully, I can say the same for my brothers, sister, nieces and nephews.

It's a mixed blessing, this huge family thing. On one hand, I've had--and continue to have--a lifetime of picnics, weddings, BBQ's, reunions and other assorted family gatherings that have made for a lifetime of happy memories.

On the other hand, I've attended way too many funerals at this point in my life, and I know there are far too many ahead. But, as our family tends to do, we use humor as our coping mechanism. They're now called "going away parties."


  1. I'm so sorry for your losses, Polly!
    If I don't see you before my surgery, you'll have to come visit me afterward, as I'll be stuck at home for a week! I'd love to sit and chat (probably no knitting for me unless it's a big garter stitch square. Hmmm, that's an idea...)

  2. I love the photos of your Mom, she is such a beautiful lady.

    So sorry to hear about your cousins. I'm glad you have such a large family in which to find comfort and solace at this difficult time.