My cousin Chris passed away yesterday in a work accident. He was 37 years old. It is tragic and horrible and so completely sad. I can’t imagine how my Aunt is doing nor how his siblings are coping. And although we lived on different coasts of the country and our relationship in the last ten years had been over Facebook, there was a time where he was a big part of my life and I want to share that.
My Aunt Sharon had three kids. Jude, the same age as my older brother, Dawn, one year younger than me and Chris, the same age as my next sister down. We all spent vast parts of our summers playing in and around the woods and grounds at my grandparents house in Ontario.
Chris was great with a hatchet and taught us how to chop down the dying trees. As a cousin posse, we built epic forts, tree houses and makeshift bows and arrows in those woods. Followed by literally hours of play. Sometimes we hiked down the ravine to the creek and went fishing. Chris never minded baiting my hooks. And whereas I maybe caught one or two small fish there in my life, he nearly always came up with something.
There was a small gravel pit at Grandma and Grandpas house and I remember distinctly one year a ledge had formed about halfway up the earthen wall. Of course we climbed it and decided it was the perfect place to become The Beatles and stage “huge arena shows”. More often than not, as the younger cousins, Chris and my sister had to be the audience. Or Ringo. No one wanted to be poor Ringo.
We skied all through those woods together every winter. We swam in the pool together. We spent Christmases and Easters eating and goofing off and memorizing old comedy albums together.
I’m glad we had those times together before we all grew up and moved into our adulthood. I’m glad that in my head I will always see that grin. Hear the infectious laughter.
I’m sorry you had to leave us so quickly.
In loving memory. Chris Fletcher. You’ll be so very missed.