Life lesson 6,083,238.221 = keep family close.
My parents divorced in 1990 and my dad got remarried (to the love of his life, in my opinion)... when my parents split up, it was as if we split from my dad's family too. Lost contact with them. I would hear about how they were doing through my dad and I left it at that. I didn't do too much to pry into their lives for fear that they didn't want or need me (I was still young and misguided by my own thoughts).
One of the hardest things to go through is to lose someone you love with all of your heart. Someone you look up too. Losing my father in 2002 was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced in my 40 years. This is from a girl who went through 9/11, suffered through an abusive relationship, and the loss of friends and family... losing my daddy was the hardest. I lost him before he could meet my kids, or see a lot of my accomplishments or even before he saw my sisters and brother grow up to be solid, wonderful people (they all are). Here is the thing, I didn't have to go through my sudden loss alone. My family was there. When my dad passed away suddenly in 2002, he was only 53. It was unexpected and very hard for my family to handle. I hadn't seen a lot of my dad's family since my wedding to Jeff in 1997, or before that in 1989... so to see them just show up out of love and respect gave me strenth. They were there for me to hold me up, help me out, and make me laugh about joyous times.
Why is it that it took something tragic for us to come together? I never questioned it before, but after my sisters (Becky and Sarah) and I loaded up in Sarah's car and drove to Memphis... my life will never be the same, nor my perspective on family.
We found out about my aunt and got in the car right away to be with our cousins, our dad's sisters and their kids (my dad has three sisters). Because when family needs strength and support, that is what you do- you go be by their side and offer them support and love. The love I have for my family is unconditional... I would be for them in an instant, regardless of when I saw them last.
I even take for granted my sisters and my brother. I assume they will always be here and I can always wait til tomorrow to talk to them or their lives are way to busy for my stuff, so why bother them with my day to day dolldrum. Truth: Phillip and I eloped. I eloped and texted out my invites, but I didn't check with my entire family to see if they could even come or when would be a good date because I didn't want to inconvience anyone...I just set a date and said, see you there if you can make it... I am a horrible person. I did not realize that they would really want to be there for me. Is that crazy? In retrospect I would have done that differently. I would have ensured that my immedate family was there for the most glorious day of my life. You guys, my sister didn't make it to my elopement, but I didn't even check with her because I know how busy she is with work. WHO DOES THAT? I should have checked... Not having her there is a huge regret on my side. It was my best and last marriage (LMBO). I regret her not being there to stand with me and witness it. Who has two thumbs and is crying as she types and is a schmuck? THIS GIRL, that's who...
I have decided not to take my family for granted. It is simple to just pick up the phone and say "HELLO." I always worry about what to say, but our family can talk. I am sure if I say, HELLO, HOW ARE YOU DOING? I will get a reply... lol. I plan on texting, calling, writing letters to those I love. Because at the end of the day, the only ones who undestand our crazy ass stuff is our family.
Being with my aunts and cousins earlier this week gave me grounding... showed me where I come from. They made me feel connected to my life. I realized that my uncanny sense of sarcasm and dropping the humor ball when I am sad comes from my dad's side of the family. I realized how important I am to them, and how important they are to me.
One thing I can tell you... I have the most amazing extended family EVAH. To my siblings, Sarah, Becky, Heather, Bill, and Lu... I love you so much. Every day I think of you and every day I love you... unconditionally.
My aunts and uncles - you have helped shape me into the woman I am, and for that I am forever grateful. Aunt Ann for the bitch classes and conversations on Tuesday's at Johny Mars (soup day). Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jessie for showing me through actions the words FAITH and HOPE. Aunt Deb and Uncle Brad for paying it forward and taking me in after college, opening the doors to my future. Uncle Jerry and Aunt Dusti, for showing me love and creativity... Aunt Joyce and Uncle Mike, teaching me how to reach beyond the stars (also for igniting me with a love for the written word), Aunt Nan and Uncle Bob, for helping me laugh through the pain and making me feel that drinking a bottle of wine is not THAT bad... and Aunt Peg and Uncle Bob... showing me strength and love- More strength than I will ever know, you have... and faith.
For my cousins... for everything... you were my first friends in my life, and you are stuck with me. Just sayin.
Sarah and Becky... thank you for the ride to Memphis. Thank you both for changing my life and for always loving me, even in my crazy moments. Thank you for the three days together... the laughter from our guts, the tears, the talks... and Mr. Grey :)