Friday, July 9, 2010

Change of Plans

We were supposed to be leaving tonight for vacation.  Andy, Lauren, Ollie the dog and I were going to head to Florida for the week to stay with our Aunt Cris.  The last several weeks had left us all sort of halfheartedly planning our trip because there was a sneaking suspicion we wouldn’t be going.  None of us voiced it, but all of us felt it.

That suspicion came true.  Since Memorial Day weekend, my dad’s older brother, my Uncle Dick, has been in the hospital.  He was extremely ill, and the last six weeks had been difficult for him, for his wife, and for the family in general.  My parents have been at the hospital endlessly, trying to help, to offer support, to just be there.  To be family.  Others have been there, too.  Many others.  Because that’s the kind of family I grew up in.  The type of family that shows up, that offers support, that bears one another’s burdens in a mighty way.

Yesterday, my uncle passed away.  After six difficult weeks, he has gone home to be with the Lord.  So we are going home, to be with our family.  Because that’s where we belong.

Through this difficult summer, I’ve realized something.  My family is unique.  Everyone’s family is unique, but I’ve discovered what makes mine special to me.  For me, it’s all about the relationship.  I knew my grandparents.  I know my cousins.  I know my aunts and uncles.  I had real relationships with them.  We weren’t a see each other once or twice a year family, we were a real, honest to goodness close family.  And I loved it.  I could see cousins from all different sides of the family often.  And I did.  I knew each of my dad’s siblings and all of their kids.  They were my friends.  Or sometimes my enemies.  It depends on what day or year it was.

But our family was close.  I attribute a lot of that to my parents.  Because they are the type of people who show up.  Who do anything for the people they love, and even the people they hardly know.  They were incredible examples to Lauren and I.  I want to support my sister the way my parents have supported their families.  I think back to countless times that I have seen my dad work quietly in the background to take care of things, to help people.  I watch my mom work herself to exhaustion making sure that everyone else is taken care of.  And I love them for it.  I can’t count the number of times that my dad has been there for his nieces and nephews—the phone calls, the conversations, the support.  All of it.  I am always amazed when the whole family is gathered to see how many of them turn to my dad.  My quiet, sweet dad. 

So as we go home to celebrate my uncle’s life, it will be hard.  It will be sad.  I type this with tears in my eyes, knowing the pain that we are all experiencing, the pain that lies ahead.  At the same time, though, I am hopeful.  Hopeful that this will be another time for our special family to bond, to come together, and to carry one another’s burdens.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting our thoughts into such beautiful words. Yes having you home will mean so much for your dad (and everyone else)eventhough he won't voice it to you guys. We love all of you very much!!! Aunt Margorie said if you want to go to their house before Monday's viewing we can go anytime.