Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Celebrating Family

My mom, sister and brother-in-law
getting in to the RV to head west.
In case you haven't been around, neither have I!  I was gone for two whole weeks, longer than I've ever been away from Cedarbrook. I have always worked to only miss one Sunday at a time but I had a special situation. My mom held one last reunion  (she's 93 and aging rapidly) the week of July 4th. Following that I helped move her from Tampa to Phoenix in a RV. Both events were once in a life time events.

Both events were very meaningful to me. My family has always been separated by distance. My siblings moved to different states and I've never gotten to know their children well. I've always regretted that but the reunion really helped get us all caught up. As I get older I'd really like to be more connected to them, not less.

Moving my mom proved to be more than we bargained for. There's really no easy way to move a frail 93 year old woman cross country. We chose the RV thinking it would be less stress than a plane ride. But when we hit Santa Fe (7000 feet) her breathing got very labored and we had to take her to the Emergency Room. The rest of the trip was more like a survival mission with two more stops at ER's in other towns. But we finally got her to her new home where she is trying to get her strength back.

The whole trip made me thankful for many reasons. We moved her because my siblings and I are committed to mom ending her days with dignity and her Florida assisted living home wasn't providing that. Working with my siblings to make this happen was rewarding. I'm proud of our hard work on this. We moved her to a very small (ten person) home that looks more like a bed and breakfast than a care facility. It made me thankful to my dad (deceased) for his hard work and savings that made something like this possible. I know he'd be happy to see us doing this for mom.

What makes me especially happy is that there was a time when I thought my family would never be close. Everyone moved away and we lived separate lives. But when my dad died we decided to use some of his savings to have an annual reunion with my mom and siblings (not with all 36). Those reunions over the past twelve years have brought us together.

I mention this as a way to encourage you with your family.  It's so easy to let the relationships slip away...especially when distance is involved. But maybe you can establish some traditions that will bring you back together in meaningful ways. When life is all said and done it's really about our relationships. And family is at the top of that list.