I just checked my email and imagine my surprise when I found an email from a long lost cousin. She actually hasn't been lost but we really only have contact around the holidays through Christmas cards. It's not that I don't want to have more of a relationship with her, it's just that our history is different.
Growing up my brother and I were much closer to the cousins on my mother's side of the family. I'm not entirely sure why except for the fact that I believe there was some sort of falling out in my Dad's family after his Mother died when I was about 8 or 9. I actually don't remember seeing my cousin 'D' at all as a child. I remember my mother telling me that she had spent time with 'D' as a little girl and her mother and her grandmother. Evidently they never developed a relationship.
It would be many, many years before I would see 'D'. The meeting would not be over a pleasant occasion. It turned out that her Mom was struck with Alzheimer's disease. For years we would exchange Christmas cards thinking that Aunt 'R' was sending them. It turned out that 'D' had been signing the cards for years. After my Aunt passed away we went to her wake up north of Boston. When we arrived I came face to face with 'D'. I was in my early 20's and she was most likely in her early 30's. Well I stood in front of her and it was like looking in a mirror. It was one of the most uncanny experiences I have had in my life. We could have been twins. I don't remember much more from that first meeting. Years later we would attend her wedding, she would re-connect with other cousins on Dad's side as well as my half sisters who were her age. We would continue to exchange cards but only would see each other at the infrequent wake, funeral or wedding. Family dynamics are so interesting. In another post I'll share more about the dynamics on my Mums side of the family. It was a much different experience.