She was the smallest of my second cousins.
But what she lacked in physical strength, she made up for in personality and, from what I hear, a sharp mind.
And yesterday afternoon at work, I found out my cousin, Adonia, died.
She had sickle cell anemia, which – to probably oversimplify things – is a disorder that affects the properties and number of red blood cells in the body, which can clog blood vessels and deprive the body’s organs and tissue from getting the oxygen they need.
This, in turn, means she was more prone to getting infections and becoming ill quite easily.
The last time I met her, she was a tiny baby, barely a toddler.
But from what I’ve heard from my mom, who saw her last summer, she was extremely bright.
To say her mother is beside herself with grief is probably the understatement of the year, and perhaps even insensitive. She’s a teacher in the Jamaican school system, which is often tough and insensitive to the needs of teachers. So when Adonia fell ill, she couldn’t drop everything to see to her in hospital.
By the time she did manage to get there, she was too late. From the sounds of it, her last little girl had died in pain and alone.
And I can only imagine what her older brother and two sisters – thousands of kilometres away in the U.K. – must be thinking and feeling right now.
It just feels strange. Just thinking about it, it’s like my brain can’t process what’s happening and has separated itself. It’s like looking at myself through a pair of binoculars, or one of those cardboard tubes, the way you might as a kid after the toilet paper was finished.
Her mom – my first cousin – is a teacher … she won a trip to come up to Canada this spring. And I was finally going to meet her after almost 15 years. Now I’ll never get the chance.
My mom says that she’s probably better off now because she’s no longer suffering.
Is she right?