I had all sorts of great intentions in January, but life happens. Some good things happened. Some sad things happened. And in between, everything else happened.
Right around the time my last post went live, I got word that my uncle, who had been fighting cancer for over a year, was not doing well and the doctors weren’t sure how much longer he would be able to fight. My cousin put out a plea for family pictures with her dad in them, and it was wonderful to see just how many stories and photos rolled in. A few days later, surrounded by his family, he lost his fight to cancer. I was glad he was no longer suffering, but I know how much his family is hurting- including all of the extended family.
Through many blessings in disguise, it worked out that ALL of the grandkids were able to make it to town for the memorial service. This is a huge deal, as we have not all made it into town at the same time since 1999- when one of my cousins wasn’t even born yet. While it was for a bittersweet reason, having people fly and drive in from multiple states really showed just how much we love and support each other. It was a weekend full of memories- pizza together, inside jokes, lots of pictures taken, times remembered with my uncle, celebrating family birthdays, and so much more. I found it really funny that only one other cousin and I remembered an event from the last time we were all together, and both of us had thought we imagined it since no one else did.
We’ve all sworn to stay in better contact and see each other again soon for happier reasons. I really hope it all works out, and that we will all be able to get together soon- with significant others and kids this time. I’ve been married for over 8 years and other than my parents, brother, and grandmother, none of that side of the family has met my husband.
Times have changed since we were little. Now we all stay in touch via text messages and facebook posts. We’ve all grown up, learned some interesting life lessons, and most of us are married or are in serious relationships. These relationships have new perspective and matter so much more. We can look past the things that bothered us in years past, and celebrate things like really hilarious pictures of our dads growing up, remembering where Grandma always had the cookies hidden, playing pool with Grandpa in the basement, the smell of fresh asphalt reminding us of Grandpa, and knowing that those bonds of family make us stronger.
Family matters. Whether its the family you are born into, marry into, the family you build, or a family that you choose of people you love, it matters. It helps shape who we are and keeps us learning, growing, and sharing our lives with people who truly care.