Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Cousin Bill

I didn't get to meet Bill until I was in my mid-thirties. We met at Todd's wedding. Todd is Bill's nephew and my first cousin once removed, the son of Bill's sister, Brenda.
Bill is the eldest son of my aunt Thelma Goff Buring Jeffers Buring. One could not deny that DNA matters when comparing a picture of my aunt with that of her son. I knew what Bill looked like as a child, because my father carried his picture around in his wallet all his life.
Bill was estranged from the family for most all my life. A product of divorce, Bill and his brother, Donnie, lived in the custody of their father. (I have not met Donnie to this day, although I am happy to say that my father was reunited with him prior to my father's passing in 2005.)
Having said all that, I have never not known Bill. I knew him before I knew that I knew him. Before being introduced, when I saw him across the room at Todd's wedding, I knew who he was. When he spoke, I had heard his voice before, and when he laughed, well, I you get the picture. I don't know how these things happen, whether it is the DNA that passes from one generation to the next that causes knowledge of such things, or if it was merely Bill's striking resemblance to his mother that sealed the acquaintance. Whatever it was, it was very special.
I see Bill now, if I'm lucky, about once a year. He's married to a beautiful woman, Jan, and they live not far from my mother. I love Bill. He is my cousin. He is my blood. I'm so thankful we met in this lifetime, but I would have known him in Heaven.

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