A missed opportunity of friendship - that's the truth about losing my cousin. I truly wish I had not let work get in the way of visiting my cousin, who lived a few hundred miles away, but not far. She and I both have no sisters and would have been like sisters to each other. We had a lot of mutual affection. And I will always love her for coming to my brother's funeral. Patti was the kind of person you want to have margaritas with and laugh and gossip and gasp and smile nonstop. I've had so much on my plate in recent years and have been out of touch with many wonderful people. Now Patti is with her mom whom she lost when she was only 25. I love you, Patti, and miss you, and you were unfailingly warm toward me, every single time I ever had any contact with you, and that says a LOT.
It was in Patti's single-girl apartment that I got kissed for the first time. I used to wonder what made kissing so special. I was 16 and had never been kissed except once at age 10 playing spin the bottle - and yeah, that was pretty great too actually, I think that boy and I were both surprised. But at 16, I was visiting Patti and her friends in her apartment; she'd just lost her mom; she was engaged to be married... in spite of the sadness, her friends' presence made for a party atmosphere, something Patti inspired with her personality.
Some 30-year-old guy was talking to me for quite a while. I went into the kitchen to get a Coke or something... next thing I knew he was there and was kissing me. Of course it was the last thing I expected to happen. "I had no idea" until that moment how amazing kissing was. He mentioned something about us seeing each other, he didn't push that idea; I lived in another state, and I was 16. But that was MEMORABLE. Of course like most 16-year-olds, I told NO ONE. (See the P.S.)
Years later I told Patti about that kiss. I'd heard that he had a barefoot wedding in a Dallas mall some time later...
Patti was a totally devoted mother to her one child. She radiated enthusiasm. For anyone reading this, if there is someone in your life you have not visited for whatever reason (I have lots of reasons myself!) please stop and think. You never know when your chance to see them will suddenly be gone.
P.S. Thirty-year-old guys have no business kissing 16-year-olds; I knew that much even then. Good grief. It's a shame that teenage girls can hardly get through their teen years without being hit upon or much worse - by adult men. Parent presence and supervision is an absolute must - and staying in touch with the friends and boyfriends - plus knowing WHO they even are...!