My heart feels like a bowling ball this morning. It’s overcast out there and cool, but ugly. It will likely rain, and that’s good, because that’s how I feel. My cousin Peter passed away in his sleep last night. I saw him only three weeks ago, when he traveled up to the Cape to spend some time with family. We knew he was very sick, and none of us could quite stand the fact that he, at a healthy, vibrant 74 had been hit with lung cancer to begin with. He was still working, ironically as a hospice nurse, when he was diagnosed. it seemed cruel and silly for the roles to turn on him. And yet, they had.
Peter had so much sweetness. He was always good to me, from the earliest times. I remember when he was in the navy, he went to Rome. And he brought me back a plate with a Christmas tree on it. I loved that plate like it was a limb. I used it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I still can’t quite believe that he lugged a breakable item home for me, his littlest cousin, all the way from Italy. It has always seemed to me improbably adorable.
Talk about a good marriage. Peter had one of the best marriages, if not the best marriage, of anybody I have ever met. Married for 49 years, his wife Nancy is beautiful, smart, and patient. To have a conversation with her is to feel heard. To listen to her southern accent is to be calmed. An only child, son, cousin, friend, and dad to an awesome brood of three, a grandfather to nine, he relished family connection.
And so as I sit here and cry, I will think of Peter joining my mom and my Uncle Louie at the all-you-can-eat pasta bar in the sky. It’s the only way I can make this loss ok.