The more I realize how much family means.
I know I said Friday I had more thoughts to share about She Speaks, and I do, but I need to share this first.
We went to a birthday celebration for my uncle this past weekend who was celebrating the 75 years the good Lord has given him thus far. It was my mother’s side of the family. I don’t have the opportunity to see them very often. With the exception of about three people, none of them have seen my daughter, or me either for that matter, since she was about 18 months old. She is now 7.
Of course, the rest of her family isn’t mentally ill, but for some reason, I never see them. My conversations with them are rare as well. Every few months, I will talk with one of my mother’s sisters and catch up on what is going on with everyone, but that’s about it. So when the opportunity came to spend time with them and see everyone again after so many years, I jumped at the chance.
The pig pickin’ (that’s southern talk for a BBQ, and I mean vinegar-based, southeastern North Carolina-styled barbecue) was at the home of my first cousin. She is the oldest daughter of the uncle who was having the birthday, and she also happens to be my mother’s age within a year or two. She and my mother were pregnant at the same time. My cousin with her firstborn and my mother with my younger brother.
Because things were not supposed to begin until 5:30, we had made the decision to stay over at my cousin’s house since it was a 2-hour drive back home. My brother, sister-in-law, and nephew were also staying over because the drive was about the same amount of time for them.
It was such a great weekend! Seeing family and friends I had not seen in so long and catching up was an experience I will not soon forget.
Sunday morning my senses were awakened with the smell of fresh-brewed coffee and country ham. Oh I do love me some country ham. This is not the kind from Honeybaked Ham. This is old-fashioned, salt-cured, I saw my cousin’s husband cutting it off the bone to cook ham. Ham the way I remember it growing up. Scrambled eggs, blueberry pancakes, and bacon with orange juice and milk rounded out the meal. Oh, my mouth is watering again just thinking about it.
We ate, and we talked. And then we ate some more. And then we talked some more. It was truly wonderful! We spent the whole day visiting, and I couldn’t have been happier.
When I went upstairs to pack up our clothes, I told my husband that I had been reminded that we actually spent a lot of time with my cousin’s family when I was younger. She and my mother were good friends, and my brother and her son were pals when they were in elementary school. My brother went to their house for sleepovers, and my second cousin came to my house for sleepovers. I had forgotten about that until yesterday.
We talked some about my mom and how helpless we feel not being able to help her. My cousin teared up. I teared up. It was hard. We don’t understand. I don’t know if I ever will this side of heaven. So I continue trusting that she is in God’s hands, and even though I don’t know why He hasn’t chosen to heal her, He knows what He is doing. I hang on to that.
In the meantime, though, I realize I need to make more of an effort to be with her family. They are a way to be with her without being with her. They love her as I do, and they share the pain that I feel over her illness.
I have missed them. It was good to reconnect. I have vowed to not let so much time pass before I see or talk to them again.
Is there someone whom you need to call or send a note? If so, don’t wait. There’s only now. We aren’t promised tomorrow.
And when you talk to them, make sure you tell them that you love them. Don’t assume they know.
I received an unexpected phone call on the drive home yesterday. I will share more about that tomorrow.