An Open Letter to My Cousin

By Natalie


I thought I’d write this note to you at home and send you some snail mail but I couldn’t think of anything else on my flight home from Texas so I began writing this to you on the quiet plane. But then midway through writing I started tearing up and felt quite awkward crying on a plane so I had to pause, chug my water, blow my nose and pick it up later. I’ve since taken some time to process and I felt that this was definitely something that I wanted to share with you, and I felt it deserved to be an open letter because this space and audience has become a part of my journey.

Witnessing your wedding was such a blessing. Your love for your bride was evident and I can’t thank you enough for inviting me to be there.
It was truly a beautiful winter wedding.

I was so excited to visit and spend time with you all that I was completely blindsided by my emotion. Watching you say your vows to Tanisha hit me HARD. I was completely unprepared for getting emotional! I want you to know that I’m so proud of how you have cared for and loved Tanisha and I pray that your love for her continues to grow throughout the rest of your life. Love and marriage is a beautiful gift.

Sweet cousin, my own marriage has been a journey of healing from past abandonment and I believe that the next step of my healing journey has been growing new relationships with all of you. A side of my family I never got to know. You’ve redeemed the Rodriguez name for me and you all make me proud to be one of you. Thank you for so willingly including me in your lives, I feel so like you and connected to you. It feels so silly to say but as I walked around your home and slowly took everything in I felt these little lost pieces of me connecting. Like my life made sense. Like I made sense.

I struggled with my identity for a long time. I felt a lot of shame over what I had come from. I feel like you have all helped me find who I am, what my roots are. You each have some piece that I connect with and I feel whole again. If I could paint a picture, (because I’m visual šŸ˜Š) I suffered quite a bit of emotional trauma in my childhood. The abandonment I experienced tore a bunch of tiny little holes in my heart. Tiny holes that have been there for a long time. Meeting Brandon, learning to trust him, letting him love me, having Felicity, grieving what I didn’t have when I see her with Brandon, these moments have all been healing to those little holes left in my heart. They’re each tenderly mended over time, moment by moment, scarred but healed.

Time has healed a lot of wounds but some remained. Some I didn’t even know were there. These tiny little holes I now know couldn’t possibly have been mended without your help. You must have had no idea because I didn’t even know, but at your wedding I truly felt like those holes were healing up. The more I work through the healing the quicker I notice it taking place.

Thank you for that.

I pray that your union with Tanisha is a blessing to many, as it has already been to me. Thank you for your love, thank you for welcoming me, without question, with open arms. You have no idea what it feels like to have a Rodriguez man say I want you to be in my life and I’m glad you’re here. (both from you and your dad). It’s all the little girl in me has ever longed for. When you hugged me I felt a mass weight leave my body. Zaul it was life changing. I love you very much.

I can’t believe that nearly 30 years passed and it’s like we’ve never been apart. That is truly family.

I’m so grateful that your dad has made the choice to be actively in our lives and I’m so proud of you for following in his footsteps as a husband who loves and honors his wife.
Your wedding made a massive impact on me and I’m so grateful to call you family.

Your Little Cousin


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