A few weeks ago, I attended my Aunt’s funeral.
While I was there, I saw cousins I hadn’t seen in years. I saw their spouses and children. It was a nice visit, but the reason for it was sad.
Funerals, and sometimes weddings, have a way of bringing people together that seemingly nothing else can. Sure, we could easily pick up the phone and call each other. But we don’t. We could make arrangements to get together. But it never happens. We put it off into that ether called the future, those mystical somedays that will happen sooner or later. But they never do.
If we wait long enough, it will be one of our own funerals that brings us together.
We see lots of each other when we’re young. Christmas. Thanksgiving. The Fourth of July. But as we get older, we leave our parents’ nest. The old habits we grew up with fade away in favor of new activities, new associations, and new habits. We simply crowd out what was for what is.
I suppose it’s just a part of making your own place in the world. You carve out a life that is particularly your own. You may move to a new community. And if you’re going to visit with family, most of the time you stick with the most immediate of them.
Family reunions can be fun. The trick is to figure out how often to have them. The more people that attend, the more different intervals they favor. Try as you might, you’ll never get 100 people to agree on the best amount of time that should pass between events.
If you want to keep your family ties strong, you’ll have to strengthen them yourself. More of us are waiting for someone else to go first, and chances are, the one they’re waiting for is you.
Will you accept the challenge?