I've been avoiding calls from a certain area code. I didn't want to hear from "family" about my father's passing. We have a bad history with death, these people I'm supposedly related to and me. They love a good funeral. Open casket. Fire & brimstone preacher. Touching the body and making comments about "don't he look good" and "God bless his soul". Death is personal to me. It's about where I stood with the deceased, not where I stand with people I haven't heard from in 20+ years. But tonight I took the call and talked to my cousin. I last spoke to her in 1990. She didn't give me any platitudes beyond, "he's no longer in pain", which is the mantra I've been repeating daily since December 1st. Maybe there's hope.