I grew up thinking that my Mom's cousin was my aunt. And in all fairness, it was kind of the truth. You see my mom's cousin (let's call her K) was orphaned in her teens. So my grandparents took her in and raised to adult. So she is kind of an aunt.
Anway K married out of high school to a successful man and they had babies. Three babies. A daughter and two sons. The older son was a year older than I and the younger son was my sister's age. We spent countless holidays running around my Grandma's basement, bowling, playing pool, poker and other things. The older son used to tease me and call me Stacy. Years later we laughed about it.
On Chrsitmas one year when I was in junior high we got a call that the sons had been in a 3-wheeler accident. The older son was fine. Although the younger son was wearing a helmet, the footpeg hit the side of the helmet and crushed his skull. Life changing. Depressing. Sad. He would spend 10 years in a coma. Growing up, but not alert enough to realize it. My 'aunt' was crushed.
The older son had his issues. Drugs, alcohol, partying. One fall day in college I was walking to class and looked up to see him. I smiled at his easy smile and said hi. We chatted on the way to the campus and I leared that he had gotten his life together and gone back to school. I walked away that day thinking "good for him!" That next summer, over the Fourth of July, he was in a car accident after drinking and was killed. Again, life changing. Depressing. Sad. And my 'aunt' was crushed all over again.
Less than a year later, the younger son died. He never came out of the coma, but suddenly died. And my aunt, she had to live the accident and all that it entailed over again.
Somewhere in there she and her husband divorced. I suppose that it was meant to happen. A marriage is going to have ups and downs, but they had experienced more than their share of downs. Not to recover from them all as one piece.
K moved on. Found a place to build a house. You see, she and her exhusband had received a settlement from the 3 wheeler company from the accident. And yet, she was sad to live off a settlement that meant that her son was gone. So she built a house to live in and continued working.
Then she met a man. Someone who was nice and caring and loved her. They married and things were well for a while. Then they stopped coming to family gatherings. When they did come he had wild conversations about religion and the bible and refused to see any other point but his. They withdrew farther and farther so that the family really didn't know what was going on.
That man? He has been having a 'mistress'. It's supposedly not an affair because it's all about the bedroom. However, they go to parties and such together. He talks to her about his 'awful wife'. And he...well he hurts K. Once again she is shattered. Depressed. Sad.
So for this day and the days to come, my prayer is that she finds some peace. If anyone deserves it, she does. She's taken more hurt in her life than any one person should have to. I don't know how much more she can take and I don't want to ever know that it was too much. I wish her peace. Peace for K.