I was seven when he was born and remember our trip to Orlando (my own birthplace) to go visit my new baby cousin Nicky and my Aunt Wendy. Several years later when I was in high school, we visited Florida again. This time Nicky was a rambunctious eight year old and I'll never forget how much he made me laugh with his goofy voices when while eating dinner at Cracker Barrel.
The last time I saw Nick was the day this photo of him was taken, at my wedding in 2007. I was really touched that family I'd lamentably seen on only a few occasions in my life flew across the country to celebrate with us. Nick was only twenty and we had to sneak him drinks at the after party where he and Wendy and I discussed some of our crazy family members, Hall and Oates, and how one of these days, Nick was going to have to come back to San Francisco to visit again.
Earlier today though, my only cousin Nick died. I'm still in shock, even as I write this. He hadn't been sick and they're not sure what happened yet. My understanding is that he showed up at his girlfriend's house with a headache, and within a few minutes passed out. By the time the paramedics showed up, he was gone. A year ago he passed out during Lacrosse practice and when taken to the hospital they told him it was just dehydration. No word yet on whether it's related or how this happened to such a healthy young person.
It's hard to know what to write to memorialize a young man, related closely to me, but who I'll regrettably never know very well. I'm thinking a lot about my family tonight, all so far away, wishing I could do something to help. Tonight though, there's nothing I can do but sit and contemplate, and so with a glass of wine, that's what I'm doing. You will be missed, cousin Nicky!