As I’m shifting through 50 years of cards and letters to put in a folder, I’m so glad I’ve kept letters from my loved ones, some of whom have died. On the other hand, I’m so so sorry I neglected them by not visiting more often whenever possible, or writing and phoning more, when I knew from them that they longed for more contact from me.
One such person was my eldest cousin and mentor, Chris Polimeris, who was the executor to my father’s estate. When he lived in Sydney he politely disclosed that he wished I would visit more regularly. Yet I didn’t make the time or effort to do so, not even to phone him, even though I loved him deeply. Then he moved to Melbourne with his job and he’d write and I’d take forever to respond and then I’d send him many pages. I just came to a letter he wrote in the last stages of his illness when he expressed his disappointment angrily at my neglect to write and then his love for me as his cousin. Sure, I used to visit his family with my family at Easter holidays each year, but a little more effort from me would have meant so much to him. The picture in this post shows me at 11yrs with my 3 cousins Harry, Chris and Sandy. Now Harry is 80 and for the last few years I’ve changed my ways, visiting him and speaking on the phone regularly, as well as involving myself and supporting his activities with the Australian Hellenic Education Progressive Association. However in writing this I realise I could increase my contact with him even more. This applies to other members of my family, within reason because it needs to be reciprocated. When Chris reached his final hours I was coming to his bedside but was delayed and he lingered on semi conscious to the amazement of his doctors. Then once I got there he lingered on more for 2 days because I would tell him I’d see him later. So finally I whispered in his ear that I had to go back to my family and job, kissed him on the forehead and said “rest in peace, Chris”. He must have heard that because he died 2 hours later.💕