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 thoughts on “Little cousin”

  1. 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. 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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.


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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

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

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