Judy….

My cousin Judy used to call me and say,

“Hey, it’s me, your pest”

and I’d say

“Hey Judy!! You’re not a pest!”

And then we would have a nice little chat about whatever… sometimes something that was going on in her family and sometimes something that was going on in mine. Sometimes we talked about cooking or craft projects.

More than once she called just when I really needed to vent and after hearing the gist of my complaints she would say,

“Well help my never!”

and would then precede to agree with the injustice of everything.

A couple days ago Judy’s daughter texted me to say that Judy had passed away during the early morning hours. She had texted so that I could gently tell M as Judy and M were very close and news of that magnitude should not be shared via a text.

Later on I read moving tributes to Judy, written on Facebook by her children. Each one encompassing the love they had for their mother and the heartache they felt on her passing.

I’ve been trying for the past few days to write about Judy and I keep finding more and more to say and yet… trying to write it all down turns into a jumbled mess of stories that don’t mean anything to anyone but me.

In the kitchen I searched for direction and my eyes fell on the wall of cross-stitch. All expertly stitched, colors modified to perfection, nearly popping off their canvases. All stitched by Judy. Tears came and both M and I sat and recounted story after story after story of all the good times with Judy.

We moved one of the wardrobes from upstairs down to our bedroom and there tucked in the back of the top shelf, a knitted baby’s cardigan… complete with a ridiculous puffball on the peak of the hood. More tears as Judy had knitted it for Sophie nearly 20 years ago.

I searched through a box of photos, looking for pictures of the horses to add to my hall of horses… and there are pictures of M cutting Judy’s hair and Judy dipping ice cream for Sophie before the fireworks during the Fourth.

Back in the kitchen, my eye this time falls on the bookcase of cook books and the volumes of Cooks Illustrated that Judy found at a yard sale and bought for a few dollars.

Judy… you are everywhere in my house.

Everywhere.

The day before you died M and I talked about you all day. We didn’t know you were so unwell. We had seen the post about the twins and I assumed that is what caused the trip down memory lane, but now I wonder if it wasn’t that ‘thing we do’… you know the one.

So… what are we going to do now? Who do we call to join us on random “I heard about a pony at Devil’s Fork… wanna go with me to get him?” or “SAFF is in the morning, you wanna go?” Who’s going to randomly (and perfectly) show up in the driveway in the midst of M on a tirade of cleaning?

Who’s going to be there when something big happens in our life?

When I screw up and M needs to vent? When we decide to fly halfway around the world and back with 2 new lives to add to our insanity… who’s going to stay up until we get home? Whose kitchen can I borrow when the oven breaks and I NEED to make cookies? Whose house am I going to ride my horse to so I can knock on the door and ask for breakfast? Who is M going to call when she can’t remember who’s related to who and how and where and when and all that?

Somehow I think you thought we didn’t rely on you… but we did.

Somehow I think you thought that you were the pest… but you weren’t.

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