My grandpa died, and so I came back home to bury him. Though we did not agree on many things, he was still my grandpa. He lived a full life in his 88 years. He was a Seabee in the Navy in the South Pacific in World War 2, had four children, ten grandchildren, great-granchildren, and one wife, and he was a pilot. I remember being most impressed by that last one as a child, since I think he was the one that got me hooked on planes, flying, and the possibility of becoming a pilot. The fact that I never have is not from lack of desire, but lack of resources and time. Someday…
Anyway, I came back, knowing that most of my family would be here from my dad’s side. I got to meet my uncle for the first time, and I also got to meet my grandpa’s sister (and her children), who most of the family didn’t know existed. I told one of my cousins who I was to her, and she didn’t even realize we were related. We had the visitation tonight, and the funeral is tomorrow. But the highlight of my trip has been seeing most of my family on that side together in the same place.
As Garrison Keillor once said, “They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad that I’m going to miss mine by just a few days.” It’s too bad that we couldn’t have gotten together before Grandpa died, but that is how life is, I guess: Funerals turn into mini-family reunions.
My family can be cantankerous, argumentative and rude. They can be kind, helpful, and generous as well. Whatever they are, they are my family, and I love them. Hug your family today. You don’t know how much more time you have with them.