Thursday, January 9, 2014

Family


my mom, her parents, and her siblings.
1962.
my family.

they are pretty amazing people.
very amazing, actually.

they haven't found a cure for cancer or found the answer for world peace...
but.
they love.  they care.  and they are there for each other.

i am lucky to be in this close knit family.

i guess it's rare to be close to all of your siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.
but.
we are.

my family suffered a loss a couple of months ago when we lost our nana.
and now,
our hearts are healing from another loss.
my uncle mac passed away on new year's eve.
the last day of 2013.
my mom's younger brother.
the middle child.
a husband.
a father.
a papa.
an uncle.

this great man was injured in vietnam...
and has suffered from those injuries for over forty years.
he has been in and out of hospitals more times than i can count.
but.
he has always rallied.
so, it was a surprise to receive the call saying his body had stopped living.

with all that he has lived with...the pain, surgeries, medicines, etc...
i don't ever remember hearing him complain.  ever.
instead, i remember a smile.
and birthday cards. {he knew each of our birthdays.}
and genuine interest when he would ask how i was and how my family was.

when we all gathered for his services...
it was, once again, a bitter sweet reunion.

tears came quickly as i hugged uncles...brothers to him.
no words came as i squeezed my cousin...daughter to him.
my heart cried as i embraced my aunt...wife to him.

i sat in the pew and listened to my aunt darlene tell his life story.
we all laughed.
we all cried.
i was flanked with my babies on either side of me.
and my own brother and his family next to them.
my parents, aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins...
i felt blessed sitting there with this amazing family all around me.

towards the end of darlene's talk she said,
"to kerri and dusty, their dad was their hero.
and to all of his nieces and nephews...he was a hero too."

perfectly said.
few people in this world can hold a candle to him.

because, he was a military man his graveside service was conducted by
the color guard/national guard.
taps was played.
more tears rolled down the faces of my loved ones.

more hugs and lack of words {or knowing what to say} were passed among us.
laughs were shared as we retold stories.
and goodbyes were expressed as we parted ways.

it was a beautiful service to honor a beautiful man.

as i drove home...my heart was heavy but, full of love.
i was sad to not have him in my life.
i was sad for my mom...to have lost a brother. {i couldn't imagine}.
and my soul hurt for my aunt and cousins...

but, i felt some happiness thinking how happy nana and papa mac were to see him.
and, how good he must feel to be free of his suffering.

i was, also, warmed to the bone thinking of my family.
all of them.
i'm not sure how i got so lucky to be born in to this amazing family...
but, i'm sure glad i was.