Devastated.

I just found out, from a posting that came across my Facebook News Feed, that my cousin Scott passed away earlier this month.

Out of my huge extended family — mostly on my Mom’s side — he was my favorite cousin. He was the one closest to me in age, and I felt a special fondness for and kinship with him that is hard to fully explain.

We were thrown together as little kids every now and then and had to play together, but we didn’t get along too well in those days, alas. Many years later, his mom told me we were the reason she was driven to start smoking again!

I only saw him once when we were adults — back in 1982 at his Minneapolis apartment when my aunt Carol, uncle Emil and I were visiting. We were in our early 20s at the time.

He had moved away from the Cleveland area at a very early age — 9 or 10 or thereabouts — after his parents divorced and his mom remarried. How I wish we could have lived in the same city and gotten to know each other better as adults. I relished any news I was able to hear of him over the years.

About seven or eight years ago, we became Facebook friends. We had a number of exchanges on that website, and he was somewhat snarky to me at times — and I loved every minute of it!

At one point he indicated that he would like me to phone him… and I really wanted to, but I never did. Now I’m feeling enormous regret over that. We will never have the chance to connect again — not in this life.

Seven years ago, his mom and I had a telephone conversation where she mentioned he’d had medical issues even back then, and at one point he had gone into a coma and almost died. But he recovered.

Over the past few years, our Facebook interactions suddenly stopped. I no longer saw him make any posts or comments, and the birthday wishes and other greetings and inquiries into his well being that I made went unanswered. I sensed that maybe something was up, but I wasn’t sure what.

In reading the posts/comments on his page today, I gathered he had been in hospice care for at least two years. So that explains it.

The post that crossed my feed was written by a friend of his named Grant, whom I’ve deduced was probably much more than just a friend for a period of some years. I believe the two of them were a couple; although I’ve come across no absolute proof of such, there is some circumstantial evidence.

So now what? Scott’s life is over. Mine isn’t. Not yet.

Now I’m feeling the need to find a way to make my life count for something. I’ve been living barely above mere existence mode for awhile now, and that needs to change. Maybe Scott’s death is a wake-up call to me — to remind me how short life can turn out to be, and to make each day count.

OK, so I’m waxing philosophical. But that’s the state I’m in right now.