My greatest 2020 loss was my cousin Tanja, who succumbed to a rare cancer – ocular melanoma – in May, at age 64. We grew up together from birth. She was a wise, beautiful woman inside and out, incredibly optimistic. She defied the early prognosis by surviving a full 5 years from the metastasis to her liver. She began clinical trials, and I accompanied her on a couple trips to UCLA for treatment. I have so many great memories with her, including a trip to London and Germany to trace our genealogy in 2012.
Unfortunately, the pandemic prevented us from seeing each other in her last several months. She last sent me a post of her new white hair growing back, and commented on Streisand as a favorite singer.
Last Mother’s Day she ventured out to see her mom from the backyard due to Covid. A last photo shows her spreading her arms mimicking the flight of a hummingbird, her favorite. She had feeders all over her yard. After that Sunday, she began sleeping more, talking less, not eating. On Friday, she would fall into the arms of her loving husband of over 40 years and pass away.
Here’s a photo. She’s the tall one.