In October of 2006 our family lost one of its brightest lights. My cousin Meredith passed away at the age of 22 in a car accident. We were both seniors in college at the time, hundreds of miles apart, living very different lives. I remember thinking after she died that I was grateful for one thing, when it came to my relationship with Meredith I didn’t regret one moment of our time or have any guilt about our relationship. We left nothing unsaid. We talked frequently and in the months leading up to her death we talked more than usual. In the days before texting was as common she would call me on her way home from her dance rehearsals and we would chat about nothing or everything. We would chat weekly if not daily over aol instant messenger (man I’d love to read some of those conversations.) She had the ability to make me feel like the most loved person in the world. She was always genuinely interested in my life despite her way more fabulous life in Boston. Almost ten years later now and it seems like a different lifetime ago. It seems surreal that someone so authentic and full of life and love existed in my world.
Before she passed we had countless times of ‘cousin esp.’ These all occurred differently but two of my strongest memories of our ESP occurred in the year before she died. The first happened when I was working a night shift job. I was doing my usual attempt at day time sleeping when I had a vivid dream of Meredith working in a cubicle with my high school crush. I woke up to my phone ringing and saw it was her. I knew why she was calling. ‘What’s up?’ I asked even though I knew, I immediately heard a hushed, hysterical giggling over the line. ‘Ash you’ll never believe who just got hired at my internship!’ As I correctly guessed she couldn’t believe it. ‘How did you know that?!’ As I explained I was literally just dreaming about the exact situation. As much as it might seem strange, to us, it wasn’t. This happened all the time. The last time we had our ESP experience was a couple of weeks or so before she passed. She called me when i was at my internship and instead of hitting ignore like I usually would at work I picked up. We chatted for a while we had just found our cousin was pregnant and we were so excited. We gossiped about boys and life for a while then I realized I should probably be back to work. We hung up, the last time I would hear her voice. A few minutes later I started texting her ‘here is nikki’s phone number in case you want to call’ I was about to press send I received a text from her ‘what is Nikki’s phone number I want to call her.’ I laughed and pressed send, always reading each other’s minds.
Our connection was one that even now I feel. It’s something that gave me great comfort after losing her even when my head was all confused how this could have happened. Sometimes I’ll remember silly stories from when we were young, or advice she would give me as we got older and it feels as if she is still talking to me.
This week would be her 32nd birthday and as I prepare to birth my 3rd babe I can’t believe how much has changed since she’s been gone. I only hope that she can feel my love wherever she is because I still feel her and hear her laugh everyday.