I don’t know where the tears came from; from a faraway collection of broken hearts, I suppose.
But they came this morning, uninvited, when I learned Deven Lee Scott had passed away.
She was beautiful. She was 27. She was family. And now she’s gone.
Like I said, broken hearts feeling the pain of losing a daughter, a mother, a friend; it travels over time and space and, if you let it, it’ll hit you hard.
This morning it hit me as a few tears rolled down my face as I learned the news.
If I’m being honest, though, I never had the pleasure of meeting Deven.
She is my cousin’s husband’s brother’s daughter, so technically there is no direct connection to me, no shared bloodlines that run from me to her.
I never had the chance to meet her, to talk to her, or learn about her, though she is, no doubt, somebody who seemed so special to those who loved her.
I never had the chance to look directly into those sky blue eyes, or see her infectious, radiating smile.
And, I never had the chance to meet her children—Aleigha, Jayce, Natalie—just another limb off a branch on the other side of the extended family tree.
Deven was my cousin’s niece, my second cousins’ cousin. So, as far as I’m concerned, she is part of my family and I mourn her death along with all of them.
Growing up, my cousins were my first closest friends.
So many weeks we would travel from our home in the small town of Orrington, Maine, driving 30 miles over hill and dale, to an even smaller town called Garland.
It was there where my cousin Debbie, the oldest sibling in her family of four children, fell in love with Mike Scott.
Mike Scott had a bevy of brothers—Brent, Reggie, Cecil.
Cecil Scott is Deven’s father.
I don’t remember how old I was when I was asked to be the ring bearer at Mike and Debbie’s wedding. As such, I was in the wedding party along with the Scott brothers.
What I do remember, though, is the band of brothers the Scott family had; many of whom would always be around every time we visited over the years.
Cecil’s pain is immense, unfathomable. To lose a child? As parents, we can’t even think of it.
I know this week, those brothers stand beside him, strong for him, as he buries his daughter.
I haven’t seen Cecil in probably 25 years, perhaps at my aunt’s funeral, but I can’t honestly remember if he was there that day.
But, as distant family members are apt to do, we follow each other on Facebook, so we both know what is going on in each other’s lives.
It wasn’t too long ago that Cecil lost the love of his life, his wife, Bonnie. October 2, 2016, to be exact.
And now Deven, gone at 27, far too soon.
Perhaps the only comfort in this, as many people have pointed out, is that Deven is back in the loving arms of her mother.
We can only hope so.
So who was Deven Lee Scott, my cousin’s husband’s brother’s daughter?
I don’t know. I can’t tell you, though I wish I could.
Instead, I have to let other’s speak for her.
Deven was “a thrill seeker and loved the excitement of life. There was never a dull moment when she was around. She loved her family and children endlessly. She had an enormous heart with so much love to give.”
Those are just some of the words that appeared in her obituary this morning.
But those words are not enough.
Online, the place where so many of us are connected, the tributes began rolling in.
“RIP Deven Lee you will be greatly missed,” wrote one friend, in a Facebook post. “You were a wonderful kind hearted person that would do anything for anyone….You are a mother to three beautiful children. I just can’t believe you are gone. Gone but never forgotten.”
“May you rest at peace Deven Lee Scott and may a smile on your face and peace in your heart be with you always,” wrote another. “What a beautiful smile you had and the biggest heart.”
“I can’t believe my best friend Deven Lee Scott passed away,” was yet one more. “My heart is breaking in millions of pieces.”
Many hearts are broken this week, and as of this morning so is mine.
I send out my love and prayers to my cousins for the loss of their cousin and niece, and to Cecil and his other children, Stephanie and Cecil, two others I also haven’t had the pleasure of meeting.
At least, not yet.
May you forever rest in peace, Deven Lee Scott.