“Aunty,” Jem spoke up, “Atticus says you can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.” (Harper Lee, “To Kill a Mockingbird”)
A few days ago we posted a story titled “What do you take for granted?” Today we want to continue in that theme, focusing in specifically on family. If you missed that post, here is the link to it: http://twinriversvineyard.org/what-do-you-take-for-granted/
You did not choose what family to be born into. Family members are not like cards in a poker hand. You cannot discard the ones you do not like and pick new ones. Every family is full of dysfunction, discord, and drama, but often when it is said and done, family is all we have. We sometimes stay in touch, but for most of us, especially as adults, we have our own lives to live and we just don’t slow down to connect and re-connect with those with whom we share similar deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
Our family recently experienced a tragic death – Robyn’s Mom was killed in a car accident about seven weeks ago. She was Mom to us, Nan to her two granddaughters, and sister, sister-in-law, and aunt to others. Her sudden and unexpected death shook our immediate and extended family to its core. As we mourn her death, our family has supported us and cried along with us. It has been a very difficult thing to come to terms with, but having a loving family to lean on has made it a little less difficult.
We held a Celebration of Life service a few days ago and about 50 family members and 50 friends were in attendance. Robyn and I planned out the entire service and it was an exhausting and emotional process. We leaned on family to help out with a number of the pieces of this service, and they stepped up to the plate and hit the ball out of the park!
After the service we unwound with a group of cousins at a restaurant, catching up on life. It was a very special time, full of laughter, reminiscing, and unspoken love. Some of these family members live near each other and get together regularly, while others, like us, live farther away and don’t have that opportunity. As I thanked two of Robyn’s cousins for their support, prayers, phone calls, text messages and e-mails to check in on us, and assistance with the memorial service, the response I got – That’s just what family does – really made me stop and think about the gift of family. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I processed what those five words mean.
We so often take family for granted. We know they are there, but we fail to really take the time to share life together. We miss out on the beauty and joy that comes with sharing life, both the ups and the downs, with those you love and who love you. It takes work to have genuine and meaningful relationships, but it is so worth it!
“That’s just what family does.” Thank you Jay and Tami for reminding us of that!
New Bern, North Carolina