RIP Rachel. We love you!

My cousin Rachel passed away, unexpectedly, on September 23. Since that day, life has been an extra emotional roller coaster. Though Rachel had struggled in the past with her addiction, the whole family was completely blindsided and at a loss over her death. I am still struggling with words. She was only 25, with 3 babies – her oldest turned 4 on September 26, her son will be 2 in December, and her littlest baby girl is only 3months old. She loved her children more than anything. She was a beautiful soul. My heart, as many other family members and friends, is still breaking for her and her children.

In the midst of mourning, our family was also getting ready for my cousin Justin’s wedding on Oct 7. He is Rachel’s older brother. We have been waiting for this day for a long time and now here we were in the depths of grief, while simultaneously feeling overjoyed. It’s a feeling I don’t know how to explain and one I hope to never feel again. I know it couldn’t be easy for Justin and his wife, Heather, to continue on, but I suppose that was the lesson – life continues, even after the worst of tragedies.

Now that the wedding is over, the dust is starting to settle. Though we’ve all started to go back to our daily routines, the air is still heavy with emotion and I know, for myself, I can start suffocating without notice. As they say, it comes in waves. Death and love simultaneously brought my extended family closer than we have ever been. With the recognition that life is fleeting, I think we will be making an extra effort to not take each other for granted.

This incident has further proved to me that my husband and I made the right decision by moving back to Connecticut. I lived in Massachusetts for 10 years after college and returned to Connecticut in Spring 2015, when our Evalyn was only 6m. The decision was not easy and continued to weigh heavily on me, until September 23. That’s when I knew that as much as I struggle sometimes with leaving the life I had in Boston, this is where I’m supposed to be. At least right now, with my family.

It’s funny because after I started my reflection, I took a break and went on Facebook and noticed a post from my cousin, Gina:

the last 2 weeks have been all types of emotional! one week my family is mourning, while trying to keep it together in celebrating birthdays at the same time, and the next week we’re celebrating family visiting from out of state, and marriage! it has been a rollercoaster of emotions. from sad, to ecstatic! and then today, it’s like calm, and reality begins to sink in.. and though there were many goodbyes, all full of sadness, they all aren’t really goodbyes but “see you soon!” whether in person, or the other side. as wild as my family is, and as much as i feel i need to take ativan when i’m around them…😒😜 everyone (including boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives/friends) came together & stuck together and joined the rollercoaster of sadness, tears, laughter, & joy. and i think that shows a lot about all of us as people. ✨

And that’s it, isn’t it? As my mom would say, “Blood is thicker than water”. I have never felt that truth more than I do today. I have never been so thankful for my (insanely crazy) family. In my ups and downs, one thing has always been steady – my family. I’m stuck with them and they’re stuck with me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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If you or a loved one is suffering from problems with drugs, alcohols, gambling, depression, postpartum or anything else that ails the soul – please know there is help and there is hope. No one is alone, no matter how down they feel.

AA: https://www.aa.org
NA: https://www.na.org
GA: https://www.gamblersanonymous.org
Postpartum Depression: https://www.postpartum.net/ or 800.944.4773
Suicide Prevention: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or 800-273-8255

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