Tomorrow she would have been 28, my dear, sweet sister cousin: Rachel. I don’t even remember when we started calling each other sister cousins, but it seems to me that whenever that became a way the three of us (Rachel, Rhiannon, and myself) identified our trio we always knew in our heart of hearts that we were more than cousins.
We shared a middle name; we shared a birthday month (six years and five days separated us); we shared a horrific year at a private school (Rachel as a kindergartner and me as a 6th grader); we shared inside jokes; we shared groan filled shopping excursions that included hour long treks through Elder Beerman (a horrid department store); we shared a love of clothes, handbags, shoes, and bling; we shared a love of all babies; we shared a crazy family that we love beyond measure; we shared a youth full of daily summer pool trips, weekend shopping, Fourth of July traditions, Disney World trips, family dinners at Grandmother’s; we shared a relationship that picked back up right where we left off as soon as the three of us were together.
Rachel’s life might have been cut short last November, but it was a life lived fully. Her parents, her family, her friends, and her sister cousins all knew she loved them and all loved her in equal measure. She brightened every room she entered with her kind heart, contagious laugh, and gentle grace.
I’m so thankful for all the stuff we shared over 27 years and as crazy as it might sound I am thankful that I miss her so much even now, 10 months after her passing. The ache I feel each day when I realize I can’t send her that funny text or talk to her about my latest Last Chance find just serves to remind me what a great loss I have suffered and what a great love I shared with my sister cousin. And while I would give anything to have more time with Rachel, I rest assured in the fact that she knew I loved her and that some day I will see her again and we will then pick up where we left off.
Tonight Isabella told me that she had some good news about Rachel: “Mom, you don’t have to be sad. I have some good news. Rachel is in heaven, and because of Jesus she isn’t really dead. She’s an angel now and she’s watching over all of us.” Exactly the sort of thing I would have texted Rachel and exactly the thing I needed to hear on this, the eve of her birthday.
I miss you, my dear sweet leech, my precious sister cousin.