Little cousin

My mother's stepfather was named Ezra Gerald.

My mother's youngest brother – my uncle – is named Ezra Gerald.

His son – my cousin – is named the same.

My uncle Gerald has long been separated from my Little Gerald's mother.

By some odd stroke of coincidence, eleven years ago she and her new husband were stationed at the military base here. At the time Little Gerald was just seven years old. A cutie pie to the core, he had a peculiar blend of cheek-dimpled, little kid mischievousness and a somewhat quiet, polite maturity that seemed well beyond his small years. He and his little sister spent plenty of time with my mom, sisters, and me. Thirteen years his senior and just past twenty, I felt like more of an aunt than an older cousin to Little Gerald.

After only a year or so, Gerald and his family were reassigned to another duty station and moved away. For various shadowed reasons, we weren't kept in touch and ultimately lost the close contact with that extension of our family that we once had. We missed Gerald; he's the one cousin on my mother's side of the family that we didn't get to see grow up.

Gerald had his 18th birthday at the end of March.

He was killed last Friday, caught while riding his bike to school by a bullet that was meant for someone else.

Our side of Little Gerald's family is only now learning of this tragedy. We are devastated, shocked into a surreal state of near-disbelief.

He was more man than child, but I keep seeing him as the cherubic little sprite who used to wiggle his way into my lap and giggle with his never-ending, ear-to-ear grin.

We didn't really know him much past that cheeky seven-year old. We didn't know him as the cornerback of his high school football team or as the senior superlative class clown. As the young man who was looking forward to taking his girlfriend to the prom, she with her coordinating dress already hanging in wait in her closet. We didn't get to know him as the scholar just six weeks away from graduation and headed to Kentucky State University in the fall.

We won't get to know him at all, not past the memories we keep of him in our hearts.

I just don't understand.

35 Comments

  1. Kara on April 27, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Kim, I read the first article you linked to. There is no question in my mind that he belonged to you and yours. The way his friends described his personality is the spitting image of you all: persistant, funny, loved music, laughter, generous. . . and the list went on. I am so sorry this senseless act has taken him from you. You will be in my thoughts and prayers in the upcoming days and weeks. As improbable as it sounds, I hope you will find peace.



  2. Stacie on April 28, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Moxie, I am a complete loss for words. I am terribly sorry for you and your family’s loss. Your little cousin sounded like such a wonderful person and will be deeply missed.



  3. anymommy on April 28, 2009 at 12:35 am

    I’m shocked and sad, I can’t imagine how you feel. I am so very sorry.



  4. Melissa on April 28, 2009 at 12:50 am

    I am so unbelievably sorry Moxie.
    It’s so rare to read an article where you can feel the love everyone who knew him had for him, that was so touching. He sounded like an amazing man. I’m so sorry Moxie.



  5. JessPond on April 28, 2009 at 1:01 am

    So very, very, very sad. I’m so sorry for you and your family, Moxie. He sounds like he was a wonderful young man. 🙁



  6. Nikki on April 28, 2009 at 1:15 am

    I’m so sorry. Keeping Little Gerald and your entire family in my thoughts and prayers.



  7. Megan on April 28, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Moxie, I’m so sorry. The senselessness of this breaks my heart. I’m glad, at least, that you have such sweet memories of him.



  8. staciet on April 28, 2009 at 1:32 am

    Moxie, I am so sorry for your loss. Your family will be in my prayers.



  9. Kellie on April 28, 2009 at 1:53 am

    I am so sorry to hear of the tragedy in your family. Take care



  10. Cindy on April 28, 2009 at 7:19 am

    I’m so so sorry. There are things in life that are so unfair, and these kinds of tragic stories top the list. Senseless loss of life…thinking of you and your family.



  11. Sara on April 28, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Oh Moxie, I am so sorry. What a tragedy. My condolences to your family.



  12. tash on April 28, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Kara said it perfectly. Somehow after everything that’s happened to me, I’m still shocked to my core when the one bullet finds that one kid. I’m so sorry. I hope you, and his immediate family, are finding the support and sympathy that they need. I’m thinking of you all, and especially wonderful Little G today.



  13. Jo on April 28, 2009 at 8:27 am

    There are no words, Moxie. I am holding you and your family tight to my heart.
    Hugs,
    Jo



  14. Kristin on April 28, 2009 at 8:44 am

    I am so damned sorry Moxie. My heart is breaking for everyone who loved that fine young man. {{{Hugs}}} and prayers for you all my friend and, if there is ANYTHING at all I can do, please don’t hesitate to call.



  15. Former IM on April 28, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Oh Moxie, I’m so sorry for your tragic loss. Condolences to you and your wonderful family.



  16. kimmyg123@yahoo.com on April 28, 2009 at 9:55 am

    ((Moxie)) I am so sorry! Said with tears in my eyes. My sincerence condolences to your entire family! NOT FAIR!!



  17. Dora on April 28, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Oh, Moxie! How awful! I’m choked up reading this. My condolences to you and your family.



  18. sara on April 28, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Oh my gosh Moxie – I’m so sad to read this! I’m so sorry, I know that these words probably don’t help a lot – but I’m keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.



  19. Jendeis on April 28, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I’m so very sorry. You’re right, this is a tragedy.



  20. Danielle on April 28, 2009 at 11:24 am

    OMG Moxie, I am SO sorry! I know those words aren’t much, but please know I’m holding you close to my heart today. I’m sending prayers to you and your WHOLE family.
    *HUGS*



  21. WhichBox on April 28, 2009 at 11:56 am

    WTF? OK, I’m the angry one. WTF happened? What is WRONG with people?! What a senseless, stupid, shocking tragedy.
    I am so sorry. So, so sorry for you and your family.



  22. Shea on April 28, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    I’m so very sorry Moxie!



  23. Becky on April 28, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Oh my, oh my. I’m so sorry Moxie. My goodness.



  24. Pam on April 28, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Oh Moxie, I’m so sorry. My condolences to your family.



  25. brown-eyed-girl on April 28, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    What terrible news! I’m so sorry. My thoughts are with you and your family.



  26. Melissia on April 28, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss and for the circumstances that took this special young man out of your life. You and your extended family are in my thoughts.



  27. k@lakly on April 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    My God, that’s awful. I wish I had better words to say it but that is what it is. AWFUL. I am holding you and your family close as you remember a life cut way too short because of someone else’s idiocy.
    xxoo



  28. coffeegrl on April 28, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Moxie, I am so sorry. Words never seem to be enough when we lose someone, in particular at a time of such senseless tragedy. He sounds like he was a special person. My heart goes out to you and your family.



  29. Heather R. on April 28, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Oh sweetie, I am so very sorry for this tragedy. Hold tight to the memories you have of him.



  30. jenn on April 28, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Moxie-
    I am so sorry. Hold on to the momories you have of your cuz. Your family is in my prayers.



  31. jill on April 29, 2009 at 9:46 am

    That’s so sad. I’m sorry for your loss.



  32. Erin on April 29, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Take care of each other. Thinking of you all.



  33. Vickye on April 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Moxie, I am so sorry. My condolences to you and your whole family. (((hugs)))



  34. Lorza on May 2, 2009 at 7:55 am

    I am so sorry Moxie. That is such a senseless tragedy. {{Hugs}} to you all.



  35. k77 on May 15, 2009 at 7:25 am

    My goodness. I’m so very sorry.