This time it was neither illness/accident that resulted in the loss of lives, but a murder.
My wonderful cousin Carmen and her husband Ivan were murdered by Ivans nephew (raised as his brother). Those of you in New Zealand would have seen it on the News or in the papers.
I was sleeping in on the Sunday morning as I had a late night gig, and got home at some awful hour of the morning.... my phone had been going crazy, but I was catching up on sleep, so just ignored it. When I finally got up around midday, I had messages from my brother telling me to ring him ASAP. He told me what had happened, and that our cousin was fighting for her life, and being sent by Emergency helicopter to our city for treatment.
I got ready and headed up to ICU and waited for her arrival. I met up with a few other cousins too, and we waited. Our Aunty couldn't fly with Carmen as Carmens son was too upset and wanted his Nana to stay with him... so she was on her way via Car. A few of us cousins were allowed in to see Carmen, and what a heart-wrenching moment....seeing your usual "full of life" and "life of the party" Cuz laying there on a life support system. My heart ached for our Aunty, and for our other cousins (Carmens Brothers/sister), and of course Carmens kids. It was awful to think that Ivan was laying still at the scene of the crime. It was truly surreal.
By this stage a number of other friends/family had arrived, so I left to go home and get my children ready for bed, then I went back up to support my Aunty and her family. It was the most heartbreaking of nights as they turned off the life support system, we held her hands, and watched our cousin slip away. Her son clinging to her lifeless body, now an orphan. ................................ Tragic... so very tragic and Needless!
Carmen was such a wonderful woman. She was the kind of cousin who really cared, even though we didn't see each other too often. We'd catch up at family functions, or up town, and it was always lovely, never one of those meetings where it was draining... she was always a breath of fresh air. We always laughed. She was always smiling, and trying to steal everyones children!!
Over the last year, she was such a blessing to me, even though I never really told her that. She and Ives came and stayed out at the resort, when we had my Dads 60th birthday in September. And that was a blast, we got to catch up, spend some quality time together.... then in December when my Dad died, she came and like many other cousins worked their butts off in the kitchen of our Marae, serving people as they came and paid their respects to my Dad and our family. She worked hard! She would text me regularly to say "How are you doing my cousin?" or "I'm thinking of you". At Christmas...early in the morning, I got a text from her wishing us well on our first Christmas without Dad.... saying to "keep strong, and to try and enjoy your day even though I know you'll be misisng Uncle Charlie"... and again the next week when it was my 40th birthday, and didn't feel like celebrating. I got another one New years eve, New years day, and then regularly, the last being about 2 weeks before her death.
I wish that I had told her how wonderful I thought she was for taking the time to send me all that love via text.... for thinking about me when she did. I wish that I had taken more photos of us at Dads birthday.
I have so many "I wish's" in my head, but once again, it's made me remember that we need to really let our friends and family know how special they are to us... how loved and how wonderful, as we never know when that will be the last time we see them.
Now I'm going to make an effort to support (awhi) Carmens Mum, kids, siblings, .......... remind them how loved they are and really try and help them through this awful time!
RIP Ivan and Carmen. We love you so much and you are and will always be so very missed.
Challenge: Go and tell someone today that you love and appreciate them!!!