Forever Family

Joanna - Bolingbrook, Illinois
Entered on February 24, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family
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It wasn’t until my Great Auntie Cecilia’s wake that I realized how much family means to me. I approached my mother and my sister multiple times to ask the names of the unfamiliar faces that I saw enter the room filled with roses and people in nothing but black. The realization came when my mother couldn’t even name some of the family members that were entering the room. The hellos that were exchanged between most of the family consisted of never-ending hugs, not out of sympathy, but more because we were seeing their faces for the first time since the last death in the family. To matters worse, I felt more upset at all these events above more than the death of my Auntie Cecilia. I felt more hurt because we were family, and I should know them. My family should have never grown apart as we did and as I witnessed this day.

Being at a young age during my Auntie Cecilia’s wake and funeral, I felt like nothing would have an effect on what would happen to our family especially coming from a rather large family. So I tented to put it off until my dad’s mother, Grandma Lois’, wake and funeral in the summer of 2007.

The day was longer than my Auntie Cecilia’s wake because I was older and had to stand at the front and approach everyone that game to give their sympathies. What made it longer was that the sign in book had no more than twenty people and their addresses written in it. Although this side of my family is small, not everyone showed up for someone who did so much for all of them. Whether she gave them money for their kid’s tuition or just called to say hello, all of my family members should have been there.

A couple of days after my grandma’s wake and funeral, I walked up to my sister in our room with tears streaming down my face. She embraced me telling me, “Gramma is in a better place.” All I could do through my hyper-ventilating breathing was shake my head no trying to explain to my sister that that was not why I was crying. When I finally calmed down I explained to my sister the problems I recognized from the last two funerals I had attended. I told her how not knowing every family member that enters the room at a funeral because this is the only time we se them (if they even come at all) was what was upsetting me. We later made a promise to never split up or lose contact between us. The conversation my sister and I had lasted all through the night and led us to not only my belief but our belief that you should always remain close to your family.

Today, my sister and I call each other every day in order to not only keep in touch but keep up in each other’s lives and be there if we need one another. Furthermore, since she has been married, has a child, and has a place of her own, we have been doing all we can to get this family together out side of the funerals. We throw random parties and get-togethers, especially on days that are not holidays so they have no excuse not to come. I would like to proudly say by doing this; I’ve gotten the names of the once unfamiliar faces down pretty well. Family is forever, and no matter what, they are always something you will have and can’t get rid of. Why would you not consider being close to the people who complete your history and make you where you are, and who you are?