Tribute For Shelley

I am interrupting this personal finance blog for a tribute to my cousin Shelley, who was found dead in her home Saturday.  She left behind a terminally ill husband who is in the hospital.  Shelley was only 32 almost 31.  I don’t have details yet, as I didn’t get the email until after work and my mom was sleeping by then.

When we were kids, Shelley, her brother Mikey, and I would play on Grandpa and Grandma’s farm.  I remember the time we convinced Uncle Bob to use his pocketknife to cut us some straight green branches, then we pulled Uncle George’s fishing line out of his tackle box and made bows and arrows and chased the younger cousins around the farm.  It was great fun, until we actually hit one of them (my brother).  Then my mom and Uncle George came out wanting to whoop us, but Grandma saved us by saying we just needed work and handed us buckets to go pick blackberries (and not come back until we were good and scratched up with full buckets). 

Shelley lived her whole life in Missouri, whereas I moved around a bit: Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, Tennessee.  It’s been over two years since I last saw her, and had been thinking over the winter that I needed to get her email or phone number from my sister to catch up with her again.  Now I regret not doing that.

I can afford to pick up and head to Missouri for the funeral, since I have just under $3,000 in the emergancy fund.  My big concern is my classes, as we are down to only two weeks before finals.  As y’all know, organic chem is kicking my (donkey).

This is in stark contrast to February of 2004, when our cousin Eric died at the too-young age of 19, and only three weeks after I redeployed from Iraq.  He was the only other member of our generation of cousins to go into the army, and left behind a young pregnant bride.  At that time I didn’t have an emergency fund, and was probably in no shape to drive on the American highways without a tailgunner anyway.  With the passage of time, I have come to regret that I didn’t make his funeral.

Now my big decision is whether or not I can afford to take a few days off class this close to finals.  Right now I am leaning towards “Yes” and making plans to head for Missouri.  It’s too late to call Shelley up and catch up on what’s going in our lives, but at least I could get a chance to say “Good-bye and walk in peace.”  The family will miss you, Shelley.