While we were away, we got word late Monday night that my oldest (of five) first cousin Francis had passed away at age 63. He was mother's oldest sister's son. Aunt Dot passed away in 1985. It was sudden...most likely a heart attack.
You may remember that Aunt Elizabeth, mother's youngest sister, moved just down the hall from mother at Green Grove back in March. My cousin Nancy called to say that my cousin Tom (Nancy's brother) was going to Green Grove on Tuesday morning to tell Elizabeth and mother. Francis was the first grandchild in the family and the apple of everybody's eye. He was born when mother was in college and Elizabeth was still in high school. There are fun stories about how they thought Francis would never talk...because he was so spoiled that all he had to do was POINT and somebody would run to get him what he wanted. Another about how he and a distant cousin Ray ran into grandmama's kitchen one Thanksgiving morning all excited about killing a couple of ducks out on the pond. When granddaddy went back out there with them, they'd actually killed grandmama's two pretty swans.
But I digress...we didn't know how much mother and Elizabeth would absorb. Tom's report was that neither of them got upset and he left them with sort of blank looks on their faces. Here's the thing...one never knows when news, good or bad, might sink in with either of them so I called the home health center to let them know what had happened. It was not outside the realm of possibility that hysterics might occur in the middle of the night.
Late Tuesday, Elizabeth called Tom's wife who ran over to Green Grove to see what was up. Elizabeth and mother were comparing notes...somebody came and told us that some man died. Jan explained. Then mother got going with nope...nobody told me anything...I don't know anything. Jan got them calmed down and neither mentioned nary a word about it until Friday, but when it clicked in then, mother knew it was Francis. Still and all, there were no hysterics...and I'm thankful for that. Mother and Elizabeth having spells at the same time would not be a good thing.
I'm told that Francis was a reader of my blog. I sent to following note to his youngest son...
Our hearts are sad. Your daddy was a wonderful man and some of my earliest memories are of Granddaddy Funchess taking the whole family to the Folly Beach for a week in the summers. Francis was the oldest and at that time I was the youngest. I am told that I kicked him once with my cowgirl boots when he teased me. Francis was a kind and generous soul...even when being kicked by a bad little girl in boots.
I spoke with John this morning and as you may already know, we are away for the week. Please know how sorry we are and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all over the coming days.
Although all of the first cousins have grown up and the summers together as well as spending every single holiday together ended many moons ago, there is still a bond that transcends miles and years. Francis will be missed.