Wednesday, February 16th, 2005 • 5 Comments on Life, Interrupted
Back: Kay (my aunt’s mother), Nettie (my father’s mother), my mother, Betty (my
aunt). Front: me (age 5), Kim (my cousin, age 2), Michael (my brother, age 3).
What you can’t see: My aunt is pregnant with my cousin Brian.
This picture was taken the summer after my fifth birthday (long, long ago in 1972) at the Jungle Queen Riverboat. Don’t we look like a happy bunch? What I remember about the day—other than the unbearable heat—was my mother being cranky and yelling at my brother and my aunt being very uncomfortable because she was pretty far along in her pregnancy. I also remember how much I loved being on the water. I would probably be disappointed by the tacky tourist trap now, but it seemed like a great adventure to a five year old.
The person who isn’t in the picture (other than my father and uncle, who were busy bankrolling our little family excursions) is my cousin Jason. Jason—who isn’t in this picture because he was a few years younger than Brian, and Brian was still working on being born—died last week.
I hadn’t seen Jason in years, so my memories are of him being a fearless skateboarder, an obnoxious teenager and my “little cousin” who, like his siblings, called me Krissy. I didn’t know the twenty-nine year old Jason who died unexpectedly in his sleep last week. I don’t know what was going on in his life, or if he was still fearless (or obnoxious), but if I’d seen him before he died, I know he would have called me Krissy and I would have made a face.
It is odd to think that my life, which hasn’t been so very long, encompassed all of Jason’s life. I remember his birth, his toddler years, the in between and awkward stages, his teen years—and here I am now, contemplating his death.
How is it that in the midst of the timeline of my life, this person was born, lived and died? It is a strange, strange feeling, the contemplation of such fragile mortality. Far stranger is knowing that the Jungle Queen is still going strong, still delighting five year old girls on hot summer days and still capturing the memory in (hopefully color) pictures, while Jason, my little cousin who wasn’t even born yet when I went on my riverboat expedition, is gone.
It’s a shame Jason missed out on that great adventure because he was born too late—and a tragedy he will miss out on so many others because he died too soon.