This is the week we set aside to give thanks. I like to think I give thanks regularly, but it is good to have this designated time to reflect and remember all that we have to be thankful for.
I am thankful for many things. My family, immediate and extended, is something I am particularly grateful for. These people are a source of support and love for me. My life is centered around them and I have a great life because of them.
I had occasion to see many of the extended - extended family this weekend, cousins and their families, and I am grateful for the connection to so many people. As you get older, relationship with cousins takes a back seat to keeping up with siblings and nieces and nephews. In my family, it has to or the sheer number of people would overwhelm us all. There were 31 cousins in my generation and I cannot even tell you how many there are in the next generation or the one that is coming up behind that. We do not see each other often, other than chance meetings on the street. People talk about only seeing relatives at weddings and funerals. However, this family is so huge; we cannot include everyone at weddings, so it is mostly funerals.
This weekend it was Bobby, my cousin’s son, who died so suddenly last week. The services were lovely; the right blend of celebration of his life and sadness at his passing. And the place was packed, there were hundreds of people there. Bobby touched so many people in his short life; and he lived his life with a passion and exuberance that was contagious. His fiancé, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins were devastated by losing him. But I think they were lifted up, a little bit, from the outpouring of affection for him, and the appreciation of his well lived life.
I participated in the services, as did many of my siblings and other cousins. I felt very close to all of them, even as I tried to keep the appropriate distance from those closest to Bobby to let them grieve together as his immediate family. Bobby’s grandparents all predeceased him, so my mom and her brother and sister represented that generation. The three of them walked out of the church arm in arm giving great respect to their late sister’s grandson. It was lovely to see, even though the occasion was sad. There were many bittersweet moments like that.
At a couple of points, I felt out of time, as though we were all little kids in Grandpa’s house on Christmas Eve over 40 years ago. (I’m not saying this makes sense and I cannot explain the gray hair or all these extraneous kids.) I knew, even with all the time that has passed, and the huge responsibilities we all have every single day, that these people are family and will support me if something happens to Maggie. And that is just “my side” of the family. Steve’s family is just the same, and there are a lot them too.
I do not want anything to happen to Maggie and I hope it will not. However, we live on a precipice. And losing a member of the family, especially Bobby, cannot help but raise fears. I can tell you this; it is powerful to know there are so many people out there who will stand beside me in time of crises.
I am thankful for my family..