Last week, tragedy struck my Kacer cousins on my mom's side of the family. Uncle A.J. was working in the field like any other day. He was alone and that was normal. But unfortunately an accident happened. We will never know the exact details of the accident, just that at some point he was runover by the tractor and dragged. Gone.
What I love about my family is that in the face of tragedy, we come together in a strong band. We were all there, supporting and helping in any way we could, even if it was just to listen. Sometimes they needed to be told to eat or lay down to rest. Sometimes it was just a hug. It didn't matter what we had going, our world stopped to help them in their time of need. Its always been that way and I can't imagine it being any other way.
I didn''t have the convenience of growing up in the same town as my cousins the way my kids and their cousins do now. Summer vacations for me were spent house hopping from one cousin's house to another and then to my grandma and grandpa's house. My brothers would spend summers at the Kacers working in the fields with Uncle A.J. Some of my best memories are of summers spent with them. As we got older, we started running the roads together and eventually graduated high school and went off to college. But through boyfriends, girlfriends, marriages, babies, divorces, triumphs and heartaches, we've always stayed in touch and always been there.
Understandably, my cousins are all having a difficult time with their loss. They weren't expecting it. So many "what ifs" and "if I had only"...so many unknowns. I think the unknowns can be harder on you. Here one day, gone the next. No warnings. That's tough. I've always said, life can change in an instant. I hate that my cousins and I have that sudden loss in common now but on the flip side of that, I can help them with what I have learned. I told Diane and Rhonda both the other day, I get comfort in knowing Uncle A.J. died doing what he loved and didn't have to go through what Mom did. Its okay to cry, even when its unexpected. You have to get it out and not keep it inside. It does more harm than good when you don't let it out. And just like so many wise friends and family of mine have said to me many times, you are stronger than you think you are and you will survive.
Cousins Forever...Dina, Diane and Me
Me and Tony
Me and Diane