Band of Brothers (and one sister)
So we made our way to go see my uncle in the hospital. All “The Cousins” as we refer to each other. Of my mom’s line there are 5 total (3 brothers and 2 sisters). All of their children are “the cousins”: Domi, Me, David, Ossen, Ollie, Didier. Growing up the only girl in all the cousins made me a tougher brand of female, I think; not all the way tomboyish, but definitely NOT dainty. It also placed me as the immediate next “matriarch” of whatever we decide to do with our lives and the one that would unify us. Seems like, in my family, the women are better at keeping us together than the men have been. Granny was the last one… Mommy is it now. And I guess I’m next.
I made all the phone calls to the cousins to round them up and inform them if they didn’t know and get them to motivate. My baby came to pick us up. Domi, Me and Ollie headed together… Didier and Ossen were at the hospital already (Vava is their dad). We got there and my baby stayed down stairs to elevate his knee… his arthritis is cripplingly painful in this change of weather. We headed up not knowing what to expect. I guess I expected that he’d be himself… all they did was diagnose him with something that he’s been living with so I thought that nothing much had changed. Boy, was I wrong. He was a complete shell of himself. Trembling. Hiccuping violently. Almost unable to feed himself. And whispering. Barely audible. He sat there looking so frail while the six of us stood towering over him… staring at him. At one point I ushered 4 of the cousins out into the hall way so as to not make Uncle Vava feel like he had an audience. How embarrassing that has to be.
So I caught up with Didier (who is not only my cousin but my first Godson – I baptized him when I was in the 7th grade) and Ossen who I’d not seen in a few months. After Vava ate, he sat still for a moment and then started to fuss. Started getting up. Where did he want to go? Right. To smoke a cigarette. True addiction, I thought to myself. Ossen, a nurse and myself had to convince him that he needed to sit down and NOT do that. After he conceded… we all headed out into the hallway while the nurse attended to him for the evening. All of the cousins were lined up against the wall chatting and I stood across the hall with my arms crossed admiring them all. Tall, chocolate, strapping young men. An artist. An aspiring lawyer. A computer programmer. An aspiring doctor. And I had the honor of being raised with them all. And it was going to be my job to keep us close.
I just pray that it’s not stuff like this that will constantly unify us.