Family is family, whether it is has been fifteen years, fifteen days, or fifteen minutes. It is never too late to reunite.
This weekend was a whirlwind of tears, laughter and joy as my mother’s side of the family reunited to visit my grandmother (abuelita) who is now in hospice care (read The Gift of a Grandparent to learn what happened) and is not expected to live much longer.
It was decided that our family, many of whom have not seen each other in as many as 15 years, would honor the matriarch of the family by saying goodbye together, rather than waiting for her passing to make the effort.
Together we prayed, cried, laughed, spoke of our philosophical views on dying, and allowed ourselves to feel the happiness of the moment, rather than the sadness of what is yet to come. With each smile, joke, and story I felt a connection that I did not believe could exist after so many years apart. Yet it did.
At one point my sister was gesturing animatedly and my Uncle laughed and beamed at the familiar mannerisms. We recognized that this was a family gesture carried on in separate, yet very much related households across the country.
What strikes me the most is that we weren’t as concerned with catching up on where we are in life or what is happening at work or school. Instead, we spent our time making jokes and teasing each other as if no time had passed. We enjoyed talking, eating, and spending time as a family.
So often families are only brought together after the passing of a loved one. This is a huge mistake. You have to make the effort to reunite in life rather than in death. I feel grateful that we could honor Abuelita in this way. I know that this brought her comfort, as it brought comfort to all of us.
As we crowded around her bed and told her how much we love her and that we were all there, I felt in my heart that this was the best gift we could offer to a person who never asked for anything. In return, she blessed us with one beautiful and unexpected gift. She said in a brief moment of clarity, “I love you. I love you all.”
Te quiero mucho Abuelita!
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