Waking With Family

My aunt’s wake over the weekend was noisy, and not the least of the noise came from the back of the funeral chapel, where my cousins and I sat in a circle, comparing the status of our various kids, ailments, and retirement plans. I’m a little envious of several of my cousins. One of them wasn’t even there because she and her husband were on a cruise to Bermuda. Another (along with her recently-retired husband) is building a house on an island off the coast of Florida, where they both will be spending lots of time when she retires. (I can barely manage to take a week off in the summer and go to Maine. But the good news is that they said I’d always be welcome to come and stay with them any time I want — when I’m free to do that, of course.)
For all of the things that my cousins and I DON’T have in common (I gladly moved away from our home town and associated values when I was 17 and continue to only go back for weddings and funerals; they all still live within easy driving distance of each other), our overlapping childhood memories seem to be enough to keep us feeling connected. Something about blood. And shared histories. And they make me laugh. (I guess that, unlike me, they inherited the genes that make their brains produce lots of serotonin. I

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