Far Away From Home . . .

I don’t know about you, but I had no desire to move back to my hometown once I was finished with college and then graduate school and then law school.  I grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; a tony suburb of Detroit, a lovely place to grow up, but not where I wanted to live as an adult.  But generally, when people ask me where I’m from, I say Detroit.  I say Detroit for lots of reasons, but mainly because that’s where my family is from and continues to reside.  By my family, I mean my parents (both were just about born and raised in Detroit), my grandparents and all of my extended family (I have a pretty big extended family – my grandmother, effie of effie’s paper, had 8 siblings and a few of them also had 9 kids … their kids have kids and so on and so on).  Most of my family, with the exception of my immediate family, my mom’s sister, my grandfather and a few others of us all live in Detroit.  So you see, Detroit is home.  Except it isn’t.  We, meaning my immediate family, don’t go to Detroit for Thanksgiving and Christmas anymore because we don’t have a family homestead to bunk in.  Which means that I only get to see my extended family when I go back to Detroit for a wedding or a funeral.  But, with the advent of email, text messaging and FaceBook I have been able to keep up with my extended family more now than I ever have.  I know who’s kids are doing what, where people have traveled to and what’s going on in their daily lives.

I’ve been to Detroit twice in the past year.  The first time was last June for my little cousin Jessica’s wedding; that’s her above on her BIG day in her second outfit of the wedding to end all weddings.  No matter how tall and statuesque (I had on 5″ heels, she was in flip-flops at that point), she’ll always be my little cousin.  The second time was last week for her funeral.  No she wasn’t ill. She died unexpectedly from a blood clot that seems to have resulted from foot surgery. I’m still reeling from her passing, we all are.  She was 8 years younger than me and as a kid she sometimes got on my nerves, but she was cute and funny and well, she was my cousin.  You just endure cousins, right?  They’re family and they know you and know what you were like way back when. Then she went to college and grew up a bit and pledged my sorority; she was so excited that we had another bond to share. Honestly, I didn’t think about it the way she did at the time, but over the past four or five years because of text messaging and FaceBook and my wedding and her wedding, we had an opportunity to form an adult relationship . . . Don’t get me wrong, she was still my little cousin (yes, she towered over me and could surely beat me down had she tried) and she still got on my nerves from time-to-time, but she was my cousin and she had become my friend.  Being in Detroit for her wedding surrounded by family and then being in Detroit again last week for her funeral surrounded by family, made me long for home in a way I haven’t since I moved out of Michigan in 1991.

If you live near your relatives, spend time with them when you can. If you don’t, stay in touch with them.  I am so thankful that my annoying little cousin wormed her adult-self into my world and my heart.  I will, like her husband and her mother and her siblings and her aunts and uncles and her friends and the other cousins she left behind, miss her dearly.  But, I am so glad that although I am far away from home we were able to be close.

9 Responses to “Far Away From Home . . .”

  • Kalyn – what a lovely post. I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved cousin. The only thing worse than losing someone we love is losing them unexpectedly. My heart goes out to you. I can understand your grief as we experienced the sudden loss last year with the passing my of husband’s mother. While it left us breathless and grief stricken, we are now able to remember all of the wonderful things about her and the legacy she left and smile.

    It is a powerful reminder that we can never take someone’s presence (real or virtual) for granted and that we have to cherish and hold close the people we love. It sounds as if your cousin was deeply loved and loved you. Thank you for sharing your wondeful memories of her with your readers.

  • Hi Kalyn,

    I am soooo sorry for the loss of your beautiful cousin. It is an absolute gift that she saw you stand in support of her marriage on such a special day. Too the beauty and strength of adult friendships, which always allow us to connect the the child we once were.

    May she rest in peace, knowing how very loved she was.

    Best regards,


  • Kalyn – This was one of your best posts ever.

    It was personable, touching, and beautiful. You opened up to you fans and in doing so, brought us closer. It’s also a beautiful posts because you included a picture of you with your cousin. You are an excellent writer.

    We want to see more of you. You are compassionate and pretty.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this challenging time. This was a lovely way to honor your cousin. God bless.

  • This post is absolutely beautiful. It brought me to tears.

  • The last few weeks we’ve heard people say how sad it is that Dick Clark died. Or Vidal Sassoon last week. But those men passed away in their 80′s after living great, big, full lives. What’s sad about that? But a young woman struck down by something like this? During a routine surgery? THAT’S truly sad. And heartwrenching. Kalyn, please accept my deep and sincere condolences. I can only imagine how your family must be reeling from such a horrible tragedy.

  • Oh, Kalyn. I am SO sorry to hear about Jessica’s passing. Though I did not know her, it breaks my heart to no end. Life can be so fragile.

    This post causes me to pause and simply give thanks for those who I hold closely to my heart…including you. Please know that you and your family are in our prayers. Many hugs to you, my dear, sweet friend.

  • Beautiful! (tears) I am proud to call you cousin. You are truly a classy lady.

  • I was a friend and co worker she is truly missed by all

  • Thank you for all your heartfelt responses and condolences. The grieving process never gets any easier, but sometimes it helps to share and talk about the person who’s gone. Thank you all for indulging me.


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