I saw two first cousins on my mother's side that I rarely see. We met at our grandmother's funeral. It was my grandfather's farewell when we met the last time. Fifteen years brings quite a few changes with age being the one easiest to notice.
We spoke of times with my grandmother. As so many years separated them, the oldest of the grandchildren, from me, the youngest, we had only the taste of her food to share. The death, no the life of another took center stage.
Terry spoke of my father to my mother, sister and I. He lived in Pensacola when I was young, probably two or so. My father, still a Marine, found a student, a friend in my cousin. Dad picked him up from high school to take him fishing in our boat, The Sea Duck. We laughed as Terry admitted that he had his first beer with Uncle Tom. He learned to be prepared for long weekend days fishing by making his own sandwich. I'm sure my father roughed it, bringing only what he needed. We smiled at the man we all knew. A man we all loved.
At my grandmother's funeral, we kept the tradition of giving her something to take with her. My father started that by giving a pocketknife to his father-in-law before closing the casket. We did this to honor my grandmother, but we'd be lying if we didn't admit that my father's actions hadn't influenced us.
Today marks two years without him. Two years since I heard my mother tell me the horrible news. We admit that we are better than we were a year ago, but even that has its own sadness.