Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Family Reunions - the Hard Way

It's a familiar story. Everybody in attendance hasn't seen most everybody else in attendance since the last time a family member died. Now, I may be wrong in this, but the fact we're all seeing each other more frequently is not the best of signs. Keeping up this pace is not the ideal either, as it means there are going to be fewer reasons for getting together -- and fewer people to get together with when we do.

And so goes life -- and death. When I was a kid, death was far away. The thought of losing my parents would send me into a sudden, cold shiver: a gut-dropping sensation would overtake me when the thought turned into a real possibility, no matter how remote it seemed at the time. Still, then, I could shake the feeling pretty quick. After all, I was young. My folks were sort of young, and everybody seemed to be in pretty good shape.

But, oh, how things do change. In the last four years, I've seen my Dad, my aunt, my Mom, my brother-in-law, and now, just this past week, my uncle, exit this mortal vale. There are births and babies, of course, graduations and marriages too, but the old guard is making its final exodus now, permanently relinquishing their posts as patriarchs and matriarchs of the family. And as they go, so have some of my dearest confidants, best friends, and closest allies.

Commenting on this at last week's visitation for my uncle, a cousin of mine was telling me how our fragmenting brood needs to find time to get together and reestablish the pattern of family outings that were so much a part of our lives when we were all kids.

I said, "Yeah, we do!" (Or something like that).

That was the easy part.

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