I spent all day Tuesday at the funeral of the sister of a long-time friend of mine. This was one of those horribly emotional events that leaves you wiped out. Their Pastor said that that day was not the day for whys and what ifs, but you just couldn't help yourself from asking those questions.
The woman who died was a wife, a mother, and a fellow homeschooler. She loved her family and she came from a very loving family. I've known her family for a long time and it's one of those families that is not only close with each other, but constantly draws outside people in. I know, I was often the recipient of their wonderful hospitality and love.
I had a long drive home and during that time I thought of my own children. Oh how I long for them to have adult relationships with each other such as those of my friend and her sisters. It was somewhat providential then that, upon returning home and relaxing on the couch with all of them around the room, we quite naturally started discussing this very topic.
Ms 16 yo was very emphatic about the fact that none of them could ever be "dissenters". She said she's always longed for cousins who could also be her friend, so she wants her children to be good friends with their cousins. We all agreed that, although they might argue from time to time, they would agree to never stop talking to one another. I know that sounds like a lofty goal, but I'm hoping that because they've experienced the hurt of having family members not talk to them it will help them in their resolve to always reconcile with each other.
We talked of hanging out as one big family. We talked about taking vacations together. I pointed out that a big part of this working will be that they each marry someone who values extended family as much as they do. It will also have to go both ways, too. Not only will they need to maintain good relations with their own siblings, but with those of their future spouse as well!
It sounds so wonderful to me, especially after witnessing again the bonds that run so deep in my friend's family. Losing one of their sisters is going to leave a very large hole in their family, but at least their closeness to each other will help them to reach some kind of healing. I can't imagine having tragedy like that strike a family that is estranged. My only prayer would be that the tragedy would bring people back together instead of driving them farther apart.
For now, we'll work on strengthening the bonds within our own little family that keep us strong. We'll continue to reach out to others and draw them in as much as they will let us. We will show God's love to each other so that hopefully others will see it and be helped. More lofty goals, but with God, nothing is impossible.
Eternal rest grant unto her, and may perpetual light shine upon her.