I come from a very small family. My Mom and Dad each have one sibling. My uncle is kind of a weirdo and has two daughters who are not close with him - so we don't see those two cousins every. My Dad has one 1/2 sister who has kids - but they are much older and I have seen them a handful of times in my life.
My mom's Dad was one of 10 kids. Yes - 10 kids. 6 girls, 4 boys. So how do we have such a small family with very few cousins? Because 5 out of the 6 girls were nuns, and 1 out of the 4 boys was a priest. It was one huge Catholic family that started out in England, and when my grandfather was a baby (he was baby #5 out of the 10), they traveled by boat to the U.S. So 5 were born in England, 5 were born here.
Growing up, we spent a lot of time with 3 of the 5 nuns (1 died very young, the other lived in CA so we didn't get to see her often). Monica, who I was closest with, died when I was in 7th or 8th grade, Veronica died in the last couple years, and that leaves Magdalen and Cyrilla. Cyrilla is the youngest of the 10 and is still lively and well.
This post will be about Mag. She was a softspoken woman, short, stout and had a very raspy voice. I will share one of my favorite stories about her. Several years back, we went up to the Massachusetts/Rhode Island area to visit my moms cousins and the nuns. There were about 10 of us and we picked the nuns up and took them to lunch. This was around 11 or 12 in the afternoon. The waitress was going around getting drink orders...iced teas, sodas, water, lemonade. She got to Mag and asked what she'd like to drink. Well, Mag happened to have horrific hearing so my Mom's cousin loudly repeated the question into Mag's ear (I think the entire restaurant may have heard), Mag answers in her raspy, soft voice, "Bloody Mary."
That story is one I'll remember forever. She passed away peacefully yesterday. It's sad to us - but she was 91 years old, had an amazing life, and it's hard to be so sad when the nature of her community (the sisters) make it such a joyous occasion - they aren't sad, they aren't afraid - they are fully prepared for death. I will be missing the funeral on Monday - but will be sure to be thinking of her this weekend.