Poyer: Let’s talk cousins

Columnist Sarah Poyer discusses the friendships she has gained and the lessons she has learned from her cousins. 

Sarah Poyer

Editor’s Note: This piece is a part of the series “Let’s talk.”

This past weekend, I watched my cousin marry the love of her life. I had never met him before, yet I knew he made her so happy. Something we had not really seen much from her since 2012. 

2008 and 2012 were some pretty rough years for my family. We lost an uncle in 2008 and then an uncle and father in 2012. Losing that many family members in such a short amount of time made our family mourn very deeply. I saw my cousin shift from someone who was only a couple of years older than me to what seemed like an adult overnight in 2012. 

Losing her dad made her a different person; she grew up in the blink of an eye right before us all. It was a bittersweet change. I was devastated at the loss of my uncle (her father), but was proud of her for growing up so well. After 2012, that side of my family and I pretty much lost contact. Unfortunately, the states we live in are not connected. Getting to Georgia, Florida and Ohio was not an easy feat for a busy teenager. 

Still, I got to watch my cousins grow up through social media. Being the youngest cousin, these were the people I looked up to and admired for all of my childhood. I eagerly watched as they graduated from high school, then college and now to marriage. Although we may have been distanced, we experienced so many life changes together. 

The distance between us in both age and miles vanished this weekend. It was like I had known these people as my best friends for my whole life. My cousin, who is 19 years older than I, laughed and danced with me all night. My cousin, who is getting her master’s degree this next year, took selfies with me and helped me tear up the dance floor all night. Her older brother made me laugh so hard my sides hurt. Not only did we experience beautiful memories this weekend, we watched some being made. 

We watched our gorgeous cousin walk down the aisle and say her vows to the love of her life. We watched them walk into the reception as husband and wife, dancing the night away and enjoying each other’s company. The beauty in the room all night is indescribable. 

Through all of our life changes, these people have been there with me. As the youngest, I have been the last to do everything, following their guidance through college as I navigate my life. Our lives have constantly been changing the entire time we have known each other. Yet these life changes have only somehow made me appreciate them more. 

As I have grown up, these people have become my best friends. I share so much more than a set of grandparents with them. We share laughs, memories, heartaches and tears. These shared bonds have helped us navigate all of the life changes we have tackled and I know they will help the ones that have yet to come. 

This weekend showed me so much. While my cousins and I have not always been close, we always show up for each other. We have each other’s back and support each other through all kinds of life events. My cousins are some of my best friends, and I am glad I get to call them that.