The past few months have been difficult. My family lost another family member, my cousin Bette Anne. She died at the age of 33 from cervical cancer. Fucking cancer. She left behind a 10 year old son and my aunt and uncle and her sisters who all adored and worshipped her. In some ways, her death has me way more shaken up than my dad’s. To be fair, I hadn’t spoken to her outside of Facebook for a while, but we were really close our entire childhood. We are the same age and had a lot in common. Especially music and movies and boys. In the summer of ’95, I flew from my home in Florida to spend the summer in New Mexico with my grandma and cousins, as usual. After that, it was decided that I would go spend some time with my cousins at their lake house (that sounds a lot fancier than it really was) in Arkansas. They had no air conditioning, so we spent our days swimming and listening to music in front of a floor fan. We were 14 and thought we were really cool, but we still loved the New Kids on the Block. With each other, we could let our NKOTB loving flags fly high and proud. Sure, my other cousins teased us relentlessly, but we did’t care. After Arkansas, we somehow talked our parents into allowing her to come spend a couple weeks with me in Florida before school began. Earlier that year, I discovered the Beatles. I found a cassette tape of Abbey Road in the kitchen junk drawer. With nothing better to do, I popped it in my cassette player and put on my big headphones. As corny as it sounds, that was a life changing moment because I’ve been a Beatle fan/freak since. Now my love for the Beatles is just like a nice, warm constant. Back then, it was the new, fiery, obsessive kind of love. So I told Bette that I had some music I wanted to share with her when we got to my house. I remember her being polite, but not really excited. I knew how to get her though, I had a secret weapon: a VHS copy of Help! and A Hard Days Night. I showed her those movies and that was it. She was now a Beatlemaniac with me, and she’d remain that way until she passed. I might even go so far as to say she loved them more than me. When that summer ended, I very distinctly remember getting on the bus to begin the first day of school and thinking, “1995 might just be the best year of my life.” She probably didn’t know it, and it’s entirely my fault if she didn’t, but she was one of my most favorite people. One of those people that are in your life for a reason. That make an indelible impression on your heart forever. That was her. I wish I could go back to the summer of ’95 one more time. She and I had a lot of great times in the years following, like a graduation trip to Boston. Oh man, that’s a whole other post in of itself. I’ll write that someday. And the Paul McCartney concert in Las Vegas. Dancing with her at my wedding. But I think for now, I’m going to remember that happy, sweaty, musical summer and sing Beatles songs at the top of my lungs in her honor. I miss her. —– There’s more stuff going on that I’ll write about soon. Basically, I’ve had my laptop stuffed under the couch for months because when Henry sees the glowing screen, he goes insane. But now, it’s under my bed and I’ll pull it out and write when my anxiety is peaking or I feel it bubbling up, which is almost always these days. I need to write. It’s always been my release. And with this new chapter in my life, I will be starting a new blog in the next couple of days. I’ll post the link when it’s up and hopefully all of the two real people following me will bookmark me over there. I promise to not always be so sad-sackey.