At some point it became a tradition to take a group photo at every family reunion. I do not know when this was taken but I know it was before 1995: my Mom and Grandpa died within 3 months of each other that year and both are in this picture. Mom is wearing the pink jacket about 3 from the right in the second row and Grandpa is peeking around Grandma in the left center of the photo...and still standing. My brother Kenneth is in the bottom right of the photo with a big smile on his face. (I am in the back right corner, mostly blocked off).
In fact, if you note the faces, there are a lot of big smiles. It was a down number people wise, less than 40 of us...but we were there. And having fun.
I took that picture of a picture at Grandmas Memorial. Later, I got people together for the following photo.
This is a picture of my immediate family. Seated is Dad...no longer capable of standing long enough for a photo. Behind him in blue is my older sis whose health is so bad she probably should not have been standing. The twin sisters are to the right and my brothers behind them.
This is a very important picture to me. It is the first time the 6 of us have been in the same place at the same time since Mom's funeral in 1995...an we would not have stood for being in the same picture. No point in airing dirty laundry, but suffice it to say certain elements of this picture have, over the years, alienated other elements of this picture to the point where they have refused to be in the same room.
Enter Dad's wife, my brothers and my wives, my sister's daughter and my brothers kids.
Without being too blunt, I can honestly say this is probably the last time we will all be together before one or the other of us is laying in the casket. Time, distance, and past events are likely to minimize when we are all together.
But thanks to the memorial and things coming from it, that might not be true.
It is a sad but true cliche that death brings people together. It is a marker for me that at Grandmas memorial, we WERE all able to get together and get that picture taken. And it is my stated goal to several people, both publicly and privately, to do what I can to see to it that this family is pulled back together.
There have been a lot of bad decisions made in the past and it is an unfortunate fact of life that regretting decisions does not remove the impact they have for years to come. There is a lot of work to be done. But it will be done and every possible effort will be put forth to see to it that the errors are fixed as much as possible and people pulled together.
The problem here is that the person working to pull these things together is me. I know my strengths and I know my limitations. One of my limitations is that I might be very smart, but I am not always very wise.
Knowing the correct angle to approach situations from can be very tricky.
But it is very important, as well.
In conversation last night, one person commented that the memories everyone has of this individual are bad, but their memories of each other are good and this individual wants the good memories.
We were able to bring out some of those good memories. Now the challenge is, if not to bring forth "good" memories from the past, which simply may not be possible, but to create opportunities from here on to create those good memories.
It is no secret that to me, the most important thing in life is God and eternal salvation. From time to time, I re-purpose this blog to suit my needs or desires of the moment.
In keeping with that, there will be yet another slight tweak. That is not to say the humorous and/or random posts for no apparent reason will cease, but there will be more frequent looks at whatever I happen to be studying Biblically at any given moment.
That, to me, is the first vital step in getting people to where they need to be where forgiveness will be given where it needs to be...and sought where it needs to be...and in helping to heal the rifts that have been there through the years.