Bad Luck and Trouble (Cousins: 4)


Cousins 4: Rosemary

I was never close to my cousin Rosemary because we never talked or shared intimate childhood secrets on those numerous family holidays. She eventually grew out of her pouting sullen phase, and became a very quiet, sweet young lady, who certainly did not deserve her fate.

After she married, her first child was born with mild mental retardation.

Eventually, her husband began going to Sunday Mass by himself, something not unusual for families with young children. Perhaps someone had to stay home with the disabled child, allowing each parent to attend a separate Mass while easing the baby-sitting chores or expenses. In fact, hourly Sunday ceremonies are just about the only thing flexible about the Catholic Church. Protestants usually have only one service on Sundays, which obligates the congregation to actually act as a single congregation.

In contrast, I used to feel that the Catholic hourly mass schedule was designed so that no one could ever have a Confessional excuse for missing one. But it could also be as simple as being just too many Catholic bodies able to fit into one place at the same time, ensuring the Church that it will not miss a single penny of Sunday monetary donation.

I am also sure that some devout Christians use the flexible time slots to purposefully avoid certain other people they do not like.

  • She always goes at 9. I hate her. Let’s start going at 11 so we don’t have to deal with her

Anyway, Rosemary’s husband would get dressed in his Sunday best and then take off for a few hours. But he must have been staying out too long or somehow made some other mistake, because one day Rosemary trailed him to a motel where he had apparently been having weekly communion with another woman; but not communion with the body and blood of Jesus. Body, yes. Blood perhaps on occasion. Jesus, no.

Confirmation, of a non-sacramental nature, came later when it was eventually reported by a relative or friend that he had actually never been seen at any purported weekly Mass, making that fact both the end of his extracurricular Sunday school activities as well as the end of his marriage.

Rosemary undauntedly remarried and had two more children. Then, her second husband was killed when he drove off the Long Island Expressway hitting a bridge abutment after he had been out to Montauk on a weekend fishing trip. In an effort to make the hundred mile trip back to White Plains in time for work, he had fallen asleep at the wheel while driving home too early on Monday morning.

Years later, just shortly after I heard that Rosemary’s twenty-six year old son had a severe cardiac myopathic disorder that would require a heart transplant, she herself was killed as the consequence of a motor vehicle accident in which she sustained severe head trauma. It was one of those freak winter skids.

The sad irony was that her terminally ill son had been admitted to the same hospital she was brought to, at approximately the same time, and that they both died together nearly at the same time and in the same place. It would have been even worse or even sublimely ridiculous if she had been considered as a cardiac transplant donor for her own son, but either the timing was just a bit off; or nobody thought about it in the disconnected medical system chaos; and therefore the chance was missed. Personally speaking, I am not really sure I would have wanted to spend the rest of my life knowing it was my mother’s heart that had given me both a first and then a second chance at life. I already owned enough emotional turmoil.

A friend in medical school once explained this phenomenon to me when he said that most people remain healthy because ten percent of humanity gets ninety percent of the disease.

The same thing seems to hold true for bad luck.

Bad Luck


Born under a bad sign.

I’ve been down since I began to crawl.

If it wasn’t for bad luck,

I wouldn’t have no luck at all.

(Albert King)

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