In everyone’s life, there are events that will change for the better or for the worse. Regardless of their nature, I believe that everything happens for a reason. There is one particular event in my life that makes me feel this way.
Four winters ago, only a few days after Christmas, I was sitting with my mom in the living room putting decorations back in their boxes when the phone rang. I can still hear my dad asking to talk to my mother; something was wrong and I could hear it in his voice. After I handed her the phone, I could see the sorrow in her face and she sounded concerned, “What? Where? Oh my God! Don’t worry everything will be alright.”
Immediately after she hung up the phone, she turned to me and said, “Uncle Ron was in a car accident and they don’t think he’s going to make it.” My uncle Ron was one of my dad’s older brothers and the father of six children. We had never been very close to him or his family because there were disagreements over religion and I don’t think I had seen him in almost a year. Nevertheless, we all still cared about him very much.
When my mom told my sister, we all immediately started sobbing. As I sat there with my mom and my sister, I thought about how important family is, no matter what kind of problems there are. Nothing can take the place of a supportive family.
More terrible news came after about an hour. My grandparents had been on vacation in Texas and, during the rush home to see their son, my grandma had a heart attack. Not only did we all have to worry about my uncle’s health, but now we had to deal with our grandmother being in the hospital also.
A few hours passed and all but two of his children were at my house with all of my other cousins. It didn’t matter that we had been separated from each other for most of our lives, we were family and we weren’t going to let a difference of religious views keep us apart. Later that night, at about 1:30, the phone call came to tell us that my uncle Ron had passed away. We were all in shock, even though we knew that call might be coming. There was not much to say to his children to make them feel comforted when they had just learned that their father passed away. So we all just stood there doing our best to make his children feel loved.
I don’t think I will ever forget that night. To me, it was the beginning of a new relationship, despite the events that were occurring. My grandparents ended up staying in the hospital for two days until my grandmother got better. They made it home the day of the wake to say their last goodbyes to their son.
Since then, my family has been much closer than ever before, we even go on vacations with all of my cousins every year. I have grown very close with all of my Uncle Ron’s children, like they are my own brothers and sisters. This is how a family should be no matter what there are arguments over.
Even though the death of my uncle was a tragic event that left a large family without a father, it brought us all together again. You can choose to see this event as a coincidence that my family suddenly became closer, or you can choose to view it as proof that everything happens for a reason.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.