When I was in grade twelve, my cousin Tina came to live with us to attend university.
We were thrilled!
Tina and her six brothers and sisters (who are actually my second cousins… probably once or twice removed but none of it matters in our family) lived around the corner from us in St. John’s. Her youngest sister, Mary, was my very best friend.
I spent hours in their home as a young girl enjoying many games of cards and cups of tea around the kitchen table followed with sleepovers where Mary, Tina and I… giggled late into the night.
We moved to Halifax when I was ten and I desperately missed my friends until Tina came to live with us seven years later.
She studied hard. While I was in the depths of partying with friends and going out on weekends rebel rousing… she was deep into studying her horribly thick textbooks. Tina cleared her dishes as she left the table, washed and swept without being asked, did her own laundry and was super polite… making me look like a total jerk in my own home… which at the time… I was.
Tina didn’t stick around for long and I was sad to see her leave. She was homesick. Needing to be back in Newfoundland with her family… and Jack.
You see, Tina had fallen in love. She’d met an amazing man she couldn’t see past… spending countless hours on the phone with him… giggling late into the night.
I tried to tell her there were LOTS of great guys out there… just close the books and come party with me! But for her… it was him.
They eventually married… had three beautiful children… and went on with their busy, full, happy lives.
It’s been a few weeks since Jack’s been gone. A giant hole left in the hearts of all who knew him. I can’t help but think of my cousin and her tremendous loss. How amazing she was during his sickness. How lucky he was to have known her. How lucky we all were, that she brought him into our lives.
The fact of the matter is… I know little about my cousins’ husbands and wives. I’ve lived away for so long and only really get to see them from time to time… a fleeting moment… a family party, wedding or sad occasion. But I know each of my cousins… what they stand for… their values and their commitment to family and their children. Their spouses… are an extension of them… part of who we are.
I can try to tell you a little about Jack… but this article in The Globe says it far better, than I ever could.
RIP Dr. Jack Hand… what a legacy you’ve left behind.