My family is large enough that we have a calendar put out each year with everyone's birthday listed. All of the little squares for each month are almost filled up now with names. We're very prolific in our baby havin'.
When you look at today's date, February 3, you see that it is my cousin Dennis's birthday. But this square also tells us the year of his death, 2002. Dennis would have been 27 today. When I think of Dennis, I can't help but think of a day when a few of us were getting together at Aunt Jeannie's house. Dennis's young body, at that point, was already ravaged by MS; he was on steroids and swollen, and he walked with a cane. But he came in and the first thing he did was to ask me how I was feeling. I'd had some stupid sinus infection or something and he'd heard about it. And he asked me how I was feeling. But that was Dennis. He was always interested in how everyone else was doing. He was a good kid, loyal to his friends, he loved his mama and sister, and adored his nephew and niece.
Dennis left our lives like a landslide and he is dearly missed, because no matter how full that calendar gets, the gaps are just too big to be filled.