My cousin, Nelson, died on December 12, after a severe case of COVID-19. He was just 70 years old, and oh, what a vivacious person he was. We graduated in the same high school class, even though he was a year older.
He probably contracted it visiting his sister in an assisted-living facility. He made it a point to see her at least two or three times a week. Just before he was tested, his sister had two positive tests. The facility is not sure how she contracted it, as she is in a locked part of the facility and all nurses and staff were being tested regularly.
Because I left my hometown at age 24, to find a job that paid enough for me to provide a middle-class life for my children, I had not seen Nelson for years. I rarely visited my place of birth, because there were so many painful memories attached to it. But, last year, I reconnected with Nelson, even spending a day with him and his wife.
He took Douglas and me to see the home he had just bought, and he would have moved in the new house in January of this year. We went to a Golden Corral for lunch, and he kidded me about not getting his money’s worth because I ate only one plate of food, including salad. He was still that laughing, smiling, wonderful person he had been as a child. We promised to stay in touch during this year, especially as I now lived less than a two-hour drive to his home.
We planned a family reunion for my maternal side of the family, so that my children could meet all of their cousins. But then the virus hit, and since March, I have not traveled any place. I friended him on Facebook, and we kept in contact.
I am saddened by his death, and I hate it that there are still people who still think of the virus as a hoax by Democrats to destroy America. How did we get to this place where everything is a conspiracy and nothing is real unless one believes in it? I can tell you as someone whose heart hurts that it is real, and that we have to work together to prevent other family tragedies, as I cannot even go to his funeral, if there is one.
The moral of this story is stay in touch with family members. Don’t let the everyday business of life cause us to lose sight of the people who mattered to us as children and were some of our best friends. They are irreplaceable. Rest in peace, Nelson. Thanks for the memories, dear cousin!