Saturday, February 28, 2009

Family

The recent days have not been a particularly happy time in my extended family, as we lost one of our own this last week. She was taken from us just when that seemed least likely, and at far too young an age. I will not attempt with these few poor words to eulogize Susie here, except to say that she was a beautiful young woman in every way, a loving wife, mother, sister, and cousin; and a true friend to so many in the world. That all of this is beyond question was apparent when you saw the sense of loss in the faces of those of us who gathered this week to celebrate her life.

Perhaps the only ray of sunshine in what was an otherwise cloudy and rainy experience was in fact that gathering together of the family who loved her (and love her still). Beyond question, it is the bond of family in such situations that allows each of us to find a way to go on in spite of our loss. 

It is family that may in fact, give it all meaning. Long distance and long partings are soon forgotten at such times, as long-standing attachments quickly reestablish themselves. Gone are the the miles and the years spent apart, as the memories of times past take each of us back to when we were once much closer together. Old quarrels, their causes now without emotional content, become the sources of amused memory. Shared traumatic experiences of the past now simply become today's humorous anecdotes, shared with a younger generation who has no idea of their parents "shameless past". These shared stories of happy times long past becomes in an instant the source of mirth, memory, and even myth.

Shared as well is the sense of pride in that younger generation whose beginnings we witnessed, whose successes we celebrated and setbacks we commiserated over as they grew and matured, and whose triumphant adulthood we now both share and celebrate. They tell us that in some small way, perhaps we succeeded at least in passing on the lessons of life that our own parents worked so hard to instill in us. (Then again, perhaps we are merely fortunate that our offspring survived the stressful and often overwhelming maturation process in spite of our poor efforts.) Perhaps in fact, we were aided in this effort by those both seen and unseen from our past. Perhaps in the end, it is simply that the bond of family works a special magic that protects each succeeding generation and allows them to become something special, and everything that any of us would have hoped for.

For it is in the end our families (at least if you are as lucky as I am) who love us. It is they who guide and protect us, and they who stand with us in both the happiest and most tragic days of our lives. It is that bond which stands eternal and indomitable against any and all assault from life and the world around us.
They say that you can choose you career, your politics, and your friends; but you can't choose your family. As someone who has on occasion been know to make poor choices, that is perhaps in my case, a fortunate thing. Now I have never been particularly good at telling them so, but I say here to all of you that it becomes increasingly apparent that Someone was looking out for me when He gave me this family; and I thank Him for it. 

 

6 comments:

Roman said...

Very sorry for your loss. Words do not seem enough at times like this. Love and being loved helps people get through.

Judy said...

Tim-
I also am blessed to have been born into my family. I've lost many of my family members and know what if means for someone to extend words of comfort. I prefer Hugs, so you've just been hugged!

Tim Higgins said...

Roman,

Thank you

Judy,

Hug accepted, and my thanks as well.

Roland Hansen said...

Tim,
My thoughts are with you. May your days be filled with happy memories of those loved ones who have left this world and gone on to the next.

Ruth said...

I would like to compliment you on the article on Family. Well done . I'm really getting tired of the reasons for our get togethers though. We are apt to fight with each other, but when needed, we are all there. We are Irish, what do you expect?

Tim Higgins said...

Ruth,

There's no sneaking in the side door here Mom as you are one of the guiding forces and the true memory of the clan.

... and that's Scotch-Irish to you Ms. Corey / Fleming.