Family

As you know, my Aunt Sherry died last week.  While this was unexpected and incredibly sad,  her death gave me a rare opportunity to get together with my family.  See, I’m one of those people who ‘hope to see you soon’ but before I know it two years have flown by.

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Just a handful of my lovely family.
My grandparents, aunts, uncle, cousin and Dad.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I don’t miss my family, I miss them terribly. I have full intentions of seeing people but life just seems to take over.  There’s always some sort of excuse – not enough PTO (paid time off), schedule conflicts / previous commitments, it’s difficult to juggle 4 families (hubby and I are both from divorced parents who live in 4 different states) or heaven forbid I’m racing or training for a race (that’s the worst reason ever, and one I use quite often).

So what’s my point with this rambling self confession of familial neglect? It shouldn’t take the death of a loved one for us to make a concerted effort to get together with family.  And when I say family, I really mean it in the broadest sense of the word.  I realize that we all come from different backgrounds and may not have a traditional family; however, we all have people in our lives that, even though they aren’t a blood relative, they’re family to us.

Last Wednesday I made the almost 15 hour drive to Iowa to say goodbye to my Aunt Sherry.  I was greeted by my Dad, grandparents, uncles, aunts and many cousins.  In the short time I was there, I was regaled by the stories from my father and his sibling’s childhood.  Crazy, hilarious stories.  Ones that make you wonder just how did they survive childhood / adolescence?  I’m seriously amazed that any of my grandparent’s children lived to become adults, let alone all of them.

My dad and I drove around the small town where he grew up.  I got to see the church he went to.

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I just had to get a picture of the sunflower, too. So cute!

The house my grandfather built for my grandmother and their children over half a century ago.

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You can only see part of it due to the overgrown bushes but it’s a very lovely house.
I had no idea my grandfather built it.

And the spot where my grandfather would {not quite legally} hop a ride with the moving train to work.  Why bother with driving when you can hop a train? I’ve heard about these tracks my entire life.

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I had such a great time visiting with all of my family.  Yet at the same time part of me was sad wondering when it would happen again.  Whose funeral would be the next one to bring us together?  On my drive back home I had plenty of time to ponder that last question.  The only feasible answer is that it won’t be a funeral because I’m going to stop being that ‘I hope to see you soon’ girl.

Even if I can’t make it to every family event that occurs, it’s nice knowing that I’m going to give it a good shot. We never know what tomorrow holds so don’t wait for time to sneak up and steal someone away from you.

Question: Are you a ‘hope to see you soon’ person?

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38 thoughts on “Family

  1. im so glad you were able to reconnect with the family this weekend even if it wasn’t in the best of situations!! it would be so hard living that many hours away. I am only a quick hr down the interstate from my parents, and I think that is hard enough somedays! my grandparents are definitely aging and it has made me appreciate the time spent with them so much more recently, and I definitely make every best effort I can to atleast call them when possible. life sure does get in the way sometimes though! have a great day xxoo

    • Aging grandparents is so tough, Jenna. I’m very fortunate that I still have both sets of grandparents alive. I want to spend as much time with them as possible so when I get to see them I feel somewhat like I’m a magnet. I cling to them and their stories and just don’t let go. 🙂 I love that you live an hour away from your parents! Although, you’re right, an hour probably does seem like an eternity sometimes.

  2. Very similar here. It’s so hard to get family together when everyone lives so far apart. OH, NY, NJ, SC and NC here. I intend on making a road trip to NY this Summer to visit my Dad.

    • Hooray for road trippin’! I completely understand the different states bit which makes it so much harder because you feel like you almost have to choose which state/family to visit each year. I hope your visit with your dad is amazing!

  3. I’m a see you soon type of person too. I hate saying goodbye and I cry every single time I have to say it, which is a big part of why I don’t. You’re right though. See you soon shouldn’t be the last thing you get to say to someone, and unfortunately events like this are what help you realize it. I’m glad you had such a good time with your family and that you realized that you want to make an effort to see them again sooner rather than later.

    • Ugh, I usually turn into a blubbering idiot when it’s time to say goodbye. I think that’s one of the big reasons with the “I’ll see you soon.” It’s a defense mechanism.

  4. It can get crazy with life and then something happens that helps us to reconnect with family. It’s like a cycle I think. Unfortunately I was never really close with my family so I tend to lean more on friends – just a habit I guess? When we do get together – the family that I am close to – we never shut up…and I like it that way 😉 xoxo to you and your family getting through this time!

    • Friends are just as important as family, especially if you’re not close to family. It’s great y’all always have such a good time when you do get together! That’s how it is with us, lots of non-stop talking, laughing, story telling, etc.

  5. I am a ‘see you soon’ type of person. It’s so difficult to make time for family/friends with everything else that happens in our lives. I’m fortunate to live near the majority of my family, so it’s a little easier to find time for frequent short visits. I’m so sorry for you loss, but happy you were able to spend time with your family.

    • That’s awesome you live near your family, Ashley! You’re right though, life just seems to happen and derail our well intentioned plans. I don’t have kids yet so I can’t imagine how much more difficult it will be when I do.

  6. I’m glad you were able to see your family but do understand about taking the extra time…ect. For me right now, I’m living at home while figuring out what to do. My mom isn’t close with her side of the family and my dad’s side we see 1-2 times per year.

    Friends are that way though for me. It isn’t that I avoid making plans, I just often wait for people to make plans with me. I am actually really working on that.

    • I always enjoy reading about your family, Hollie. Enjoy your time with them while you make career decisions. As for friends, I think it’s great you’re making an effort to reach out to them.

  7. I am really sorry for your loss but glad you got that final time with everyone. I hate to say it but I felt the same way when my Jidoo died. It was in the time of my Ed, the time when I was pushing people out of my life. His death made me realize I want to spend more time with family because that is honestly what matters the most.

    • Thank you, Alex. I’m glad that you’re embracing family time more. In my opinion, one of the worst things that ed’s cause is the distancing from loved ones. It’s easier to not go around them and hear the concerned voices or put up with questions. HOORAY for closing that chapter in your life!

      PS – I love that you call your grandfather (I’m assuming, at least) Jidoo. My grandparents have off the wall grandparents’ names too: Modie (gma) and Wampie (gpa). 🙂 I’m sorry that your Jidoo passed away.

  8. Not sure if I’m a “I’ll see you soon” person or not–but I do feel your pain about not getting to spend time with your family because of schedule conflicts, etc. My brother lives in LA and I usually only get to see him once a year at Christmas…not enough

  9. I am SO glad you had such an amazing time with your family. I wish my family all lived closer too. I am loving this area of Iowa, and would love to visit! I can’t wait to see my dad’s family in December!

  10. I see my friends and part of my family every few months. But if I decide to move farther away, I will be in a situation like you where it will be much harder to go and see them regularly 😦 money and time are big obstacles! I feel like a socialite every time I go home because I see a friend or family member every day! Gotta cram them all in during the week or two I’m around! It is just the best when you get to see friends and family though 🙂

    • Money and time are huge obstacles, unfortunately. When I visit my mom in Minnesota (where I spent a good bit of my childhood) I feel like the socialite you just mentioned. Always someone to see, hug, and catch up with! Loooove it.

  11. Again, I’m so sorry for the loss of your aunt, but I am glad to see you got together with your family. I know I don’t see my extended family as much as I would like, and it definitely sucks. It takes a lot of effort, but it’s worth doing it to make those memories and everything. Hope you’re well!

  12. I know what you mean Gina. When Andy’s grandmother died a few weeks ago it was sooo nice seeing all the family. I hate that it was such a sad circumstance that brought us all together. I definitely want to spend more time with all my family and not be a see you soon person.

  13. I am super guilty of excuses. I see my family and friends back home maybe 1x a year… They really don’t live that far (in TN), but I tend to put ME first – booking all my PTO with vacations that I want to do and not including them. in any more than 1 visit. However, my parents are beginning to come visit me more often – and I mean, who doesn’t want to vacation in FL? 😉 I’m glad you were able to see family and spend valued time with them granted the circumstance.

    • I’m bad about putting ME first, too. Jody and I really like ‘our time’ which falls into the previously scheduled vacation / time conflicts. But I’m really going to try to make an effort to be less selfish. I love that your family is starting to come down to FL more often because, seriously, who doesn’t want to vacation there?!

  14. This is such a touching post, Gina. First, I’m sorry about your aunt. Losing loved ones is incredibly challenging, but like you wrote, it gives us an opportunity to reconnect with our families. Since my schedule has been so packed and super structured with working and working out, my mom is visiting for a few days. It sounds bad, but I’m also guilty of pulling the “I’m training/racing” card, which means everything else gets pushed to the side. And I won’t be able to take a trip home until later this summer, so I’m really lucky my mom came here to visit. Anyway, sending you lots of virtual hugs!

    • Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay, for Mom time! It’s so difficult with race training; I can’t imagine tri training. For the most part, I can pack up my gear and run while on vacation (although not ideal) but I don’t have to contend with trying to pack up gear for three different sports. Enjoy your mom time. 🙂

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