She Read Me

I am not at a loss for family members. My mom is still around, I gave birth to three children (and they have produced four grandchildren) who are still on this earth, I have a brother who I spend time with anytime we are both available, and I have cousins galore. One of these cousins passed away last month and I attended her celebration of life last weekend.

Our Facebook Friendship

Christena “Tena” Lynn Simpson nee Savage, was my second cousin on my mother’s side. We were connected on Facebook from 2010. I loved the fact that she carried our great-grandmother’s name and the same way she spelled the shortened version. It was a unique part of our Savage family.

I’m not certain we ever met in person. Tena would have remembered if we did. If we had, I would have been very young, I do wish we would have spent more time in person while she was here.

You see, as her husband confirmed for me at her celebration–she read me. Of all of my family members, my second cousin read the words I posted: Screaming or celebrating–And I post a lot...and she kept him up on my travels and tribulations.

When her “big guy” shared that little fact with me, I teared up. I had interacted with my cousins and my mom at the celebration, hoping to hear more stories of Tena’s life, but I felt distant. I hadn’t spent time with her in person.

Talking about being equally yoked to her “big guy” for 35 years…

But we had spent time together. I realized that fact shortly after her death when I didn’t want to post any of my writing. I had recently started to write for an online site called Odyssey and I am relatively excited about all of the stories I have written…so why wasn’t I more eager to share them with my friends?

Then it hit me: I didn’t want to post because there would be no “like” from cousin Tena.

In previous years, I could count on her “like” on my Facebook shares of my blogs, as one of the first. Almost no matter what I wrote. In the past six months, as she became more ill, her likes came at odder hours and with more time between them. But they came.

As a writer constantly in search of her audience, her likes were always appreciated. As the daughter of a family full of drama and strife, the fact I could count on my second cousin to read the words I bled out of my fingers meant more than I understood until she lost the ability to push that like button.

Yes, Tena, I had you set on “see first”

I miss you, Tena. I love you. The interaction that we had from day to day, the support you gave to this writer who simply wants people to read her words, was invaluable and sorely missed. I am glad you are no longer in pain. I regret not spending more time with you here. I hope to do better with our family that remains.

Peace be with you.

A bookmark made as a remembrance by her niece representing Tena’s love of reading

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