My cousin Brandon passed away a few weeks ago. I wanted to blog on how I feel about it, but grief is so personal that after I wrote it, I decided it was journal-territory. Instead, I decided to write down my favorite memory of him, like my sister Kristin did on her blog.

I was about seven, I believe, and I was at my Grandma & Grandpa Tygerson's house. It must have been Easter or Christmas, because my entire extended family from my mom's side was there. I have a large family; I believe my cousin-count at that point in time was 15. It was a really full, really noisy affair.

I was sitting on the big brown couch in their living room, taking refuge from the hooting and hollering of all the kids that were playing outdoors. My sister Nicole and I were flipping through the channels on my grandparent's TV. I loved watching TV at their house because they had cable - and at 7 years old, cable TV was the holiest of all holy grails. It meant that I could watch Nickelodeon, the Mickey Mouse Club, and an actual movie all in the same day.

However, my happy little moment was quickly interrupted by a large stampede of wild children. They all decided that they wanted to watch TV too, much to my despair. Everyone was clambering for the remote, standing in front of the TV, and just causing a general ruckus.

Brandon followed the crowd in, and shushed them. He was one of the oldest, so they all listened, which impressed me. He sat down next to Nicole, looked at her and said nicely, "What would you like to watch, Coley?" I remember that she just stared at him wide-eyed for a moment, because boys were a foreign alien species to me and my sisters when we were little. Any male relative besides our Dad kind of freaked us out, especially if they had facial hair or were named "Uncle Gary." (Sorry Gary. We like you now!) Brandon was the only older boy cousin that didn't make me run for the hills in terror because his friendly attitude put me at ease.

I thought it was so sweet that he sat there with us, ensured that it was quiet enough for us to hear what was on TV, and tried to decipher what on earth Nicole was saying she wanted to watch. It was especially nice of him, you see, because Nicole had a speech impediment that made her words sound like a jumble of little nasal duck quacks.(Sorry Nicole. It was cute, I promise!) We finally settled on one of the movies in the Batman Forever franchise. He watched the whole movie with us and continued to shush the other kids if they got noisy. That little event left a big impression on my seven year old self, and I remember thinking how positively cool he was.

We will miss you, Brandon.