There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Monday, August 15, 2011

I know what it means now

I got a call this morning that I never heard....there was a message left that I didn't get until about an hour ago.  My cousin Gerri had called to tell me her brother, my cousin Sam, had passed away this morning.

I have few adult memories of Sam. He lived in Virginia and I was in So Cal and Idaho. I visited once a number of years back and we had dinner, but the awkwardness of shared childhood memories, spouses there that would need long explanations and the public place hindered any real bonding. I was closer to phone admittedly, but as a result of our calls I kept up with Sam's doings.

I spent every single summer with Sam and Gerri until 1961. Sam was all boy; fishing, gigging for frogs and lobster trapping with our dads. Sam was on the cusp of manhood that last summer; driving his old Rambler all over town and graciously taking me along on his adventures a lot.

The last time I talked to Gerri I shared a comment Sam had made on my Facebook page about having a heart attack and stent placement and how he never bothered with rehab and ate what he wanted. Gerri told me that after Sam's wife died he just sort of died a little each day too. He loved his daughters and family but his zest for life was fading. He had broken his leg, was diabetic,  had several surgeries recently and it just got worse from there.

I'll miss Sammy...not the man so much but the boy I knew.....that hearty laugh, the soft Virginia drawl I wanted to copy so badly, remembering the three of us sprawled out by the front door trying to catch a breeze so we could sleep, his frank comments to me that hot summer of '61.  Gerri was pregnant  and I told Sam I wished I was having a baby too...he almost screamed and said: Are you damn crazy girl? Look at her; she's as big as Momma and Daddy's house!"
After talking to Gerri about all that Sammy had been through in the past and recently, I finally think I know what Rest In Peace means....Sammy deserves it.