Saturday, January 21, 2017


Our cousins hold a distinct place in our lives. They are our first friends, our first confidants. And although as we age and form friendships at school and in life, our cousins still hold a special place. At least that has been true in my life. This week, I celebrated the life of my cousin's wife, who passed away on Sunday. Although I did not grow up with Michelle, I have known her for around 10 years. And although I did not see her often because of distance, I feel like she has always been a Forsberg. Her death will leave a gaping hole in our family, as any death does. But her life will also be something we can celebrate through memories and stories. This week on Facebook, her friends and family have posted many tributes to her in order to process grief and loss. To know Michelle was to know her contagious smile and laugh. That sparkle in her gorgeous blue eyes. The fierce squeeze of her hugs. She lived life well. Michelle suffered from a kidney disease and was waiting for her third kidney. Most of the time, I would forget this about her, because it was not what defined her. She did not want others to see her pain or suffering. She wanted to enjoy being with you and focus on what you were doing with your life.

The bottom pictures are pictures from a cousin's party we had.  Michelle is in the Cubs shirt in the middle.
I don't know what was so funny, but of course, Michelle is front and center with her great laugh, doubled over! :)

That laugh will be something to miss, but also something to remember.

In death, Michelle was able to donate her beautiful eyes, so that someone would gain sight.  It was a hard week, but death has a way of reminding us how precious life is and how much we take our friends and family for granted.  I was honored to call Michelle my cousin.  Because I can't give her a great big hug anymore, I hope to remember that contagious hug and pass it on to others.

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