Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Green Family Reunion

Today we traveled to Lathrop, MO for a family reunion.  The reunion was for Craig’s side of the family on his mother’s side.  Now, I am always a family person.  I love the social aspect of family gatherings.  I LIKE talking to people.  There are years, however, when I would rather spend my Sunday afternoon relaxing on my couch and not in a shelter house at a local park.  As with any family reunion there is always an amount of dread. 
“Do we really have to go?”   
“I don’t know any of these people.”   
“How long do we have to stay?”
This is why we go:
Craig’s mom passed away from cancer when he was 19 years old.  Her name was Shirley.  Shirley has only one other sibling, Gerald.  Uncle Gerald is Craig’s only connection left with his mom’s side of the family. 
There are periods during the year, to say the least, that are rough for Craig.  His mother’s birthday.  Memorial Day.  His parent’s anniversary (which just happens to be his Dad’s birthday).  These are the days that I have to put my ‘make everything better’ attitude away and leave him be.  No matter how much he tries to put on a brave face, I see it.  I see the pain.  I see the absence.  I see the ‘I just wish my mom was here’. 
I will tell you I never met Shirley.  I never had the privilege.  Nevertheless I know a lot about this lady.  I know what she did for a living, where she grew up, that lavendar and purple are her favorite colors.  The typical inforamtion.  But I also know the intimate stuff.   I know that Shirley and Craig would spend hours watching Elvis movie marathon (which has now become Craig and the kid's tradition).  I know that Shirley attended every one of Craig’s school events and sporting activities except for one due to chemotherapy session.  I even know who Shirley’s best friends are and that to this day, Craig is still in contact with them.  I also know that from the first day I met Craig he has talked about his mother.  And I feel that this helps keeps him close to her. 
She may not be here physically but I can tell you she is here spiritually.  She was here on our wedding day when the torrential rainfall came but magically stopped every time Craig and I would step outside.  She was here the day the kids were born and family would tell Craig, “Your mom would have spoiled them rotten.”  When Craig’s uncle (her brother) was laying in a hospital bed after suffering a stroke.  Craig walked into his hospital room and he opened his eyes and said, “Hi Craig.”  She was there.  Her presence is strong.
I will be the first to tell you that I can by no means quote scripture.  I cannot tell you where a particular verse is or sometimes the meaning behind it.  But I do know that God is present in our everyday lives.  He provides us answers, knowledge, and His wisdom when we need it.  God knows when we need uplifting.  God knows when Craig needs his mother.  And He provides that to him.
So, when his family calls and would like to visit.  We go.  We go because family is important.  We go because it is Craig’s tie to his mom.  We go because God knows Craig needs his mom.  God is giving us that connection to our family.  We just need to listen.

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