Everyone deals with grief differently.
So, here’s to you, my sweet cousin, Marisa.
Growing up, besides having my crazy attitude sister- Gorda, I had my cousins- Melinda, Nicole, and Marisa. We hung out a lot together, especially in our teens.
Like many Chicago teens in the 90s, we spent our leisure time, going to the mall, dancing at teen clubs, and swimming in pools.
Just a few of our fun times…
Going to Ford City mall, taking pictures in photo booths. I still have some of those pictures. And, I still remember the time you met your future husband, Armando.
Going to Prime -N- Tender and St. Rita’s dances. I think you went a couple of times with us, but I don’t recall you really being a dancer. It just wasn’t your thing. On the other hand, Melinda, Nicole, and I thought we were the stuff on the dance floor.
***Side note, Melinda remember our times at Alcatraz. Fun times! I still remember the bomb you dropped on me in the bathroom at Alcatraz- you were pregnant.
Going to Worth swimming pool and meeting the freestyle group, Legacy.
***Nicole, not sure how that group ended up at Fan’s Choice in Evergreen Plaza were we worked. Crazy and goofy times!
Those were fun times, and I am thankful for them. But, nothing compares to these childhood memories.
Auntie Cathy, this memory is for you…
Words can’t express my gratitude to you for the many years, you took us to downtown. Thank you so much for the lunches in the Walnut room, for the window shopping, and for the parades.
This back of the yards’ girl will forever cherish those memories.
When I think about you, I think about how special I felt that I was the ONLY girl cousin that had you as a godfather.
I still remember the Cabbage Patch doll you gave me. I was in shock that you gave me such a beautiful gift that every girl wanted for Christmas that year.
I still remember the beautiful wooden rocking chair you bought me. I had already left abuela’s house that Christmas Eve, but you really wanted for me to have it, so you brought it to our apartment.
I never really thanked you for being so unbelievably generous and loving to me. And, today when I saw you, I knew that I needed to write this to express my appreciation.
Back to Marissa.
Around 15 years ago, you showed up at my house in a pick-up truck unannounced. I was surprised, but happy you were visiting me. Before this visit, we had drifted a part, which unfortunately seems to be the norm in big families.
I was on my way to visit my grandmother, Francesca, who was in the hospital. Being the kind- hearted person you were, you accompanied me to Christ Hospital. You shared your heart with me that day, and I till this day I kept our conversation to myself. I asked you to attend church with me the next day.
You see, I had been attending a nondenominational church for about 3 years. And, all I wanted to do for you was to give you the love and joy that only Jesus can provide.
I clearly remember the day I stood next to Marisa during service. The worship group was singing a song by Hillsong called “Made be Glad.” I saw the tears well up in your eyes, and at that moment, I knew your heart was open to receive.
During the alter call. I asked if you would like for me to accompany you to the alter. You agreed. Together we prayed the prayer of Salvation.
Even though you didn’t return to church with me again, and we didn’t really talk much after that, I am truly thankful for that precious weekend with you. I am thankful that my God gave me those two days with you.
Marisa, I don’t know what happened! I don’t know what I could have done to have made things better for you, but I want to tell you -I love you! I am sorry that I never told you that!
Today, I am reminded once again, that life is SO SHORT, and I don’t want to keep missing opportunities to tell the people around me how much I love them.
So, friends out there, please grab, hold, hug, and tell YOUR people, that they matter, that you love them, and that life is so much better with them in it.