“I Believe The Blind Can See”
Family has never really affected me or had a place of high importance in my life. Of course they are going to be there for you and love you, but I have never looked at my family from a different perspective other than the people I happened to be related to. I have always considered family the people you were closest to in your life, which in my mind was not the people I was living with. I never truly valued my family until last summer when my uncle died. During that summer I discovered faith hidden within me and my REAL family. I believe that God opens the eyes of the blind whenever grief is present.
Most people look forward to seeing their families once or twice a year, but not for me. Taking a plane ride to Ludington Michigan was pretty much a daily routine for me. I have been going to Michigan ever since I could walk. Ludington is a little town bordering Lake Michigan on the West Coast of Michigan. Not a very thrilling town when the only entertainment is the sand and the waves of the local beaches. I had no idea that last summer would be one for the record books. My Uncle Steve died in early June 2008; he was 54 years young and still had so much life to live. He was the only one in my family who I was actually close with. Little did I know that the last moments I spent with him would be the moments that I looked back on every day. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was down in Grandma’s basement on the computer, and he came down and asked if I would accompany him in taking a walk. We strolled down the blocks of Ludington Avenue talking about our lives over the past year without each others presence. A craving for Blue Moon suddenly struck our stomachs, and we found ourselves walking through the front doors of The House of Flavors Ice Cream Parlor. We sat in the two seater booth discussing future activities for the next summer that the family was unable to accomplish that summer of 2007. We laughed and smiled about the past vacations spent over the years in the little town. That’s when I realized that there was no place I would have rather been. The sunset on the beach that night was the best I have ever seen, but something that day gave me a weird feeling in my body. I do not know if it was the painted sunset or the ice cream but the feeling told me to treasure every moment I spent with him that night. So I did.
I can not recall another past time where my family has ever been that miserable. The brain cancer diagnosis was already enough on the plate, but his death was just icing on the cake. Grandma and dad cried for months after the news. My dad has never shown any emotion like that before. Our family instantly fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Comforting and caring for one another. A whole other side of my family was revealed to me that I never saw before. God saw my eyes were shut and helped me by opening them to the world. With Uncle Steve’s passing I found a faith I thought never existed in me. God found me and brought me to a church named St. Lawrence. Ever since last summer I have been there every Sunday at five in the afternoon, ready to worship and pray. Sunday is my time to talk to my uncle through prayer and express my gratitude for everything he has done for the family. In the pew of the church I stand peacefully in my grief. Instead of feeling angry with his passing I have come to understand that God just had a different plan for him…and me. Now I looked upon my family as a REAL family, no longer referring family to just people who I have a close bond with. William Cowper once said that, “Grief is itself a medicine” (Cowper) and his quotation proves to be true. Without the grief that resulted in my uncle’s passing, I would still be blind.
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