I'm back home after an unexpected trip to Michigan for a family funeral. Funerals are never a fun thing to take part in, but they are a part of life. At some point we all will be involved in one. There is no avoiding them. Part of living is dying. That's just a fact.
What makes family funerals or even those of friends bittersweet is that they often bring people who have been apart back together. That was the case with this funeral. It was for the husband of a cousin of mine. When we were younger the three of us were quite a trio. We did lots together and enjoyed each others company long before any marriages took place. My cousin and I grew up almost more as sisters than cousins. Then in late high school her boyfriend (who later became her husband) joined us, Years went by, children were born, and I moved with my husband to a new state. Eventually the distance of miles took us on different paths and we were no longer close,
I've always felt guilty about letting the friendship lapse, but I guess never enough to do anything about it. We had our own lives and our own problems. In our youth these problems would have been shared and we would have gained strength from each other, but no longer. That is until a death.
I knew I had to go back for the funeral. It didn't matter if the money was not available; a credit card was. It didn't matter if there were meetings and plans that needed to be changed. It didn't matter that we hadn't seen each other in over 6 years. It didn't matter that we hadn't even talked to each other in over 3 years. It didn't matter that I was going from 75 degree sunshine to 30 degree snow showers. I knew I had to go! I had to support my cousin and honor her husbands life. So I went.
Yes it was a time of sadness, but it was also a celebration of love. The love of a brother for his sister; a grandfather for his grandchildren; a father for his children and most of all a husband for his wife. Gil knew what it meant to love and all he loved knew without a doubt that they were loved. I was assured that I was loved as well.
Yes death is a part of life. Though it is the end of life for the one who has died and it changes dramatically the lives of those left behind there can be a positive change. Death causes separation, but it can also bring together. I hope that I have reconnected with family that I have been separated from for too long.