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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: Families are Forever

Recently, my family lost a precious member. She was my second...or third...cousin, probably twice removed. She passed away quite unexpectedly at the tender young age of 61. (And the older I get, the younger that looks!)

While our family reminisced, one uncle (again, about three times removed) said that we're so blessed to have a reunion every year. If we didn't the only time the family would get together en masse would be for funerals and a very occasional wedding. He said, "No wonder so many people don't look forward to seeing their families. It's only sad times when they get together."

Wow! I thought his comment was profound and I've meditated on it. My mother's side of the family is large overall. My mother's family has had an annual reunion for something like 72 years. It's for all family members, no matter how 'distantly' related you are. This summer, we had 250+ people attend. It's big, it's noisy, we eat too much, we talk too loud, we stay up too late and we have the best time.

I've always focused on the reunion being important to keep our heritage going and the foods from the old country. I believed it was the connection to the old ways that were important. But my uncle's statement hit home on the reunion front as well. The reunion is so important because I wouldn't have known this precious cousin very well if it weren't for the reunions. We've served together side by side. We've shared stories and laughter and shed tears together. So when I remember her, it brings a smile to my face. We had happy times that are helping me move through my grief as I anticipate the day I see her again in Heaven.

I encourage you...the next time someone mentions a reunion or you get an invitation to one...consider going. We always think it's the old ones who won't be around for the next one, but after a twenty-something year old cousin and my 61 year old cousin passed away within two weeks of each other--I'm realizing every one's time is short. Grab the moment and make a memory of a happy time.

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