We last saw my cousin Yvonne and her husband Tage when they visited us in
2004-2005. We had spent several weeks, including Christmas and the New Year together before they headed off to our sister isle Tobago for a couple of days before returning to their home in Denmark.
In the ensuing years we experienced new joys and suffered many losses, babies were born and loved ones left us, some suddenly, others gradually.
Amongst them were Teresa and Janet, two of Yvonne and Tage’s daughters and most recently Tage himself. I think we all wondered if we would ever see each other again.
Then late last year Yvonne told me that she was thinking of coming down with two of her grandsons. That news seemed almost too good to be true and then a few weeks later, even better news, seven of them were booked to come down… Yvonne, one granddaughter and four grandsons, one accompanied by his girlfriend.
We were thrilled at the prospect of meeting this young generation. We had met one of them, Mark, about a decade ago and I had met another one, Nicholas, on Skype, but we had watched them grow up in photographs that Yvonne sent to us over the years.
We hoped that they would all stay with us, and even though putting the six young ones in a two bedroom apartment was a tight squeeze, they made it work.
They arrived in our sister isle and spent a week there before coming to Trinidad.
The visit was for us, for me in particular, a most special one. It was a joy seeing Yvonne after so many years and a surreal experience meeting the next generation.
I’ll introduce them…
There was Mark, calm, exuding an aura of serenity. He was the voice of reason so to speak, but obviously enjoyed the company of his cousins.
Camilia, Mark’s girlfriend, was a good fit. She interacted beautifully with everyone, and is a great organizer.
Then there was Vincent, with a larger than life, expansive, all embracing personality. He is charming, kind and funny, with a poet’s soul.
Next came Ellis his younger brother, named after his Trinidadian great grandfather… the artist, focused, loving his Trini roots,and absorbing everything around him.
Then there was Nicholas, who manages a tattoo shop, and was a walking advertisement for them because everywhere he went, people were drawn to his tattoos. Notwithstanding this tough exterior he has
an endearing vulnerability about him.
Last but by no means least there was Yolanda, baby of the group and
sister to Vincent and Ellis who are fiercely protective of her, but at times teased her mercilessly. She good-humouredly took it all in her stride.
They were all in all a lovely group, or better said, a group of lovely young people. Their mothers and grandmother had instilled in them a hunger to know this faraway island and the family they have here.
It was an emotional first meeting, and in no time at all these two cultures, and four generations were blending, easily, warmly, the connection amongst us apparent.
Too soon it was time for an even more emotional farewell with promises to stay in touch, and to visit again soon.
I am so thankful that Yvonne is with us for another two months, after which her son, whom we have not seen in more than a decade, will come to meet her to travel back with her. I look forward to that visit and will deal with those goodbyes when the time comes, always with the hope that they will be back.