My Cousin Gary

I found out last night that my cousin Gary passed away, he died of cancer. I am not going to pretend to have been close to Gary at this stage in our lives. What I am going to do is tell you about the cousin Gary that treated his kid cousin like she was his equal.
When I was 12 years old I noticed that my cousin Gary stopped coming to Grandma and Grandpa’s when the family was gathered. So, being the inquisitive thing I was and still am, I went to Grandma and asked, “Where is Cousin Gary?” Grandma “He’s in the Pen.” Me “I dont’ know what that is Grandma” Grandma: “It’s jail.” Me: ” Why is he there?” Grandma: “He was framed.”
That was my grandma, if any one of us got into trouble it was never our fault, I miss having someone in my life with that kind of blind faith. However, even then I knew it was not the truth. So I went to my cousin Cindy and asked her why Gary was in “The Pen”. She told me, Cindy is always honest, always has been, always will be. The woman sugar coats nothing. I am not going to tell you what it was for, as that is neither here nor there, what I will tell you is he was not framed.
Some time later, I don’t remember exactly when, my grandmother asked me if I would write to Gary, as he was lonely and missed his family. I am sure she asked others as well, she never said. I said sure, so I wrote a letter to my cousin Gary. I never expected him to write back, I was just a kid and I was positive he had other things to do, even where he was. He did write me back and we became pen pals, so to speak.
Gary didn’t write to me like I was just his annoying younger cousin, he wrote to me like I was his equal. He got out later that year and began rebuilding his life.
At that point we were no longer pen pals, we were cousins, distanced by miles and age. I’ll never forget how Gary treated me, never like an annoyance, always with respect. So, that is the cousin I mourn today, I mourn that his parents, my aunt and uncle, have to bury their child, I mourn for his brothers and sisters, that they have to bury their sibling, I mourn for his wife and children and grandchildren.
I don’t know how Gary lived his life after the pen, I’ll be honest the last time I saw him was probably at our grandmothers funeral. Like I said, miles and age distanced us. However, Gary, if you are with grandma, can you give her a hug for me and tell her I never bought that you were framed.

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