When I was about two, my mother met a wonderful man from a large Irish Catholic family. They married shortly thereafter and I suddenly had about 20 new cousins and 12 aunts and uncles.
Not being blood related is not a factor in this family. They welcomed my brother and I from the beginning. I can vividly remember Christmas parties at Aunt Joanne and Uncle Pat’s house with all the cousins, I was in my Aunt Jane’s wedding, summers in Stone Harbor with Uncle Jef and Aunt Kathy, playing at Aunt Marie and Uncle Mike’s house, Aunt Eileen holding my family together when my brother died and New Year’s parties at Aunt Chris and Uncle Joe’s house. And then there’s the countless weddings…
Last night I attended a wedding for my cousin Alicia. It was a beautiful day and the family gathered to celebrate the special event. My cousins are mostly in Pennsylvania but some are now in other places like Virginia, California, Colorado and Minnesota so it’s not easy to see them often but they were there (some in spirit). Seeing my cousins is like that friend you’ve known for years and even though you don’t see each other that often, you pick up right where you left off.
Looking back on the conversations I had last night with many of my cousins, aunts and uncles, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with love and gratitude. Each of them are such special and loving people who want the best for me and each other.
Over the years this family has seen a lot of tragedies and lately, thank God, a lot of triumphs. I just wanted to give a special message to the Feehery family and let them all know how much they mean to me. It’s not very often you have special relationships with family who truly come together in good times and in bad. Mom Mom and Pop Pop would be proud.