And no, it wasn’t for a birthday bash—although they did shower me with happy birthday wishes and a lovely song or two. Alas, the reason for our trip was something a little more somber: a belated graveside gathering.
You see, my husband’s cousins lost their father this summer. A tragic life event that I would never wish on anyone, yet one that is inevitable. As we live, so must we also die.
But for our cousins, this passing was especially hard. You see, they also lost their mother less than a year ago. Two incredibly difficult losses. Two lives taken much too soon.
Two inspirational individuals who had been the solid foundation to a large, close-knit family.
And yet, while the past year would have devastated even the strongest of heart, what I witnessed this weekend at the mini-reunion that followed was a collective resilience that was awe-inspiring. The love and support displayed by every member of my husband’s extended family toward one another always blows me away, and this weekend was no exception. They could laugh and cry, all in the same sentence, and still somehow come out of it with their heads held high. And more often than not, a smile on their face.
Our hearts break for the losses they’ve suffered, but they’re so well-grounded in their faith and in the teachings of their parents that I have no doubt they will continue on with a sense of strength and purpose that many people never know.
Because a family that grows together, loves together, and remains strong in their faith together, stays together.
God bless Bernard and MaryAnn, and all of the family they are now looking down upon from their new home among the angels. A place that we all hope to call home one day. And when that happens, especially for this family, I’m sure there’ll be one heck of a welcome home party waiting for them.
Because, as tradition would have it, they’ll do it their way…