Saturday, December 11, 2010
"Hi, sweetheart. We've got some news. Grandpa just died."
"Oh, really? Dang. I thought that was going to happen tonight."
I had just been awoken at 4 am by my mother. My dads father had just passed away. Earlier in the day I had said my good byes via phone. Although he couldn't talk back to me, due to his situation, my dad assured me he heard what I said.
I haven't always been a family person and I especially haven't been big on blogging about them either. I am not a fan of "mom blogs", something about bragging to the world about my family doesn't seem right to me. I am hoping to not brag about them in this post. I just want people to know why I think family is so important.
I didn't grow up close to my extended family. Living in Japan while the rest of them were scattered around the US made seeing all of them at once impossible. I went five years at a time without seeing cousins or grandparents so to me, the idea of having cousins as close as brothers or sisters still takes some getting use to for me.
In September I took a job in Salt Lake City. With little money to my name I asked my aunt and uncle who live in Salt Lake if I could stay with them for a few weeks. I offered to camp in their backyard so I wouldn't intrude on them but my aunt and uncle insisted I stay in the house, in a huge bed. Living with them for a month I was awarded the chance to get to know my cousins like I hadn't been able to in past years. Hanging out with husbands, holding babies, playing games and swapping stories. I spent my evenings talking my Aunts head off, asking my uncle questions about my mothers side of the family, and piecing together, in my mind, the years I wasn't present in their life. I thumbed through photo albums in the bookshelf in my room, looking at birthdays and baptisms, proms, and weddings. "This is what their life was like while I was in Japan." I often thought during one of the many late nights I spent pouring over photographs.
When I found a place to live, I realized I wouldn't be able to spend as much time with them when I moved into my new home. Yes, they would still be in Salt Lake but it's not like I could, on a whim, call them and say, "Tell me about your childhood and going to the cabin."
Being able to get to know my mom's brother's family and the passing of my grandfather has made me realize how short our time with these people is. I can't continue to say, "I have tomorrow to say hello to the people that really matter in my life." Truethfully, we only have today.