The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Visiting Family

Yesterday I went to a funeral for my cousin Barbara. She lost her battle with lung cancer at 65 years young. I really didn't know her very well, in fact, I barely knew her. The combination of her having grown up in Ohio and the 10 years difference in our ages probably accounts for that. But after hearing her husband and her sons talk about her, I feel like I really missed out. I think I would have enjoyed getting to know her and spending time with her.

Barbara was buried in the same cemetery as the rest of my family, so I was able to visit with all four of my grandparents and my father. Being at their graves with no other family members around gave me the chance to think about my special relationships with each of them. I saw myself as a young child with my grandmother in the kitchen, driving my other grandmother to the doctor, learning how to hammer nails with one grandfather and going to the beach with my other grandfather. Of course my memories of my father were a giant mishmash of good times and bad times, of places and people, and feelings of sadness that he he wasn't there for so many celebrations in the 9 years that he's been gone.

In Judaism,when someone dies, we say, "may his memory be a blessing." And that is a perfect description of what I was feeling when all these memories washed over me as I stood at their graves. How blessed I am that I had these people in my life for so many years, so much love, so many life lessons. I left the cemetery to go home to my loving husband, to conversations with my mom and my sons.... I had such a wonderful time visiting my family. In time, I am sure that Barbara's immediate family will have those same feelings when they visit her. Her memory will be a blessing, too.

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