Even when you know something is coming, it can still feel like a punch to the gut.
My cousin Tassy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the winter/spring of 2008 and given four months to live, but being the spunky Greek ass kicker we all knew, she defied the odds and fought back. Sadly for all of us, that fight ended this morning when she passed away about two weeks short of her 42nd birthday.
Tassy was not my biological cousin (she was married to my cousin Derek) but she treated me and pretty much everyone else in her life like family. She was the type of person who was generous with her laughter and who would do just about anything she could to make others happy. She loved to travel and try new things and she was so ethusiastic and full of life that was hard not to be the same when you were around her.
The week before Boy and I got married, she called the apartment bubbling with excitement and offers to help with the wedding. She asked me questions about my dress and questions about Boy and made me promise if I needed anything I would call her because she was just a phone call away. I didn’t end up taking her up on it, but the phone call left an impression on me because she sounded so assured and confident, whereas up to that point, I had felt a little like a big ball of nerves. Well, I thought, if Tassy can be confident with everything that’s going on with her, I can be confident too.
And I was confident. Confident about the wedding and confident that Tas would get better because she was smart and strong and good and because, frankly, that was the only way it seemed fair.
Never in my life has it hurt so much to be wrong.
I don’t know what comes after life, but I remember seeing a movie once where everyone gets to live their best day over and over for the rest of eternity. So, I like to think that right now, Tassy is doing that and having the time of her life away from hospitals and tubes and all the other horrible things associated with being sick.
Maybe she’s on a rollercoaster or maybe she’s eating ice cream with her family or maybe she’s soaking up the sun on the beaches of Greece like she did when she went last year. Wherever she is, I hope she’s happy.
Rest in peace, Tassy. We love you and miss you muchly.
November 8, 1967 – October 23, 2009