|Corey (my sister-in-law), Dad, me, and Charles (my brother), 7/31/2010|
|The Lear siblings: Jim, Nancy, and Bob|
Almost everyone important to my mom and to my family was able to come to Mom's memorial service yesterday, and I'm so grateful to be able to see everyone together since I live so far away. Except for my parents and brother, I hadn't seen anyone in my family for at least 3 years; for some, it had been much longer, as long as 17 years for my uncle Bob and cousin Michelle. Way too long, and although we hate that it took a funeral -- Mom's, no less -- to bring us together, we celebrated being together for the several hours we were able to spend catching up on each others' lives.
|Carol (Mom's older sister) and Larry|
Three key people were missing: Mom (of course; yes, she was there "in spirit," but really I think we say that to try to feel less bereft about her being gone), and Lazarus and Maggie (who had to stay behind in New Mexico with their dad). Two other cousins and their families were also missing because of vacations and such, which I completely understand, and in any case thanks to Facebook and Blogger we're in closer contact than we've been in years. Whatever people may say about the Internet and social networking, I really appreciate how it has narrowed the distance, at least in some ways, between people who want to stay in touch with each other even if they live far apart.
|Carol, Nick (2nd cousin via Sherry), cousins Sherry and Bonny, and Bob|
Still, there's no substitute for seeing each other face to face, sharing all the stories of Mom that people have been collecting over the years, and just offering hugs and solace for the grief that we all share. I know I have no right to complain -- I'm the prodigal one here, having headed west in 1993 -- but yeah, I really, really miss my family.
|Bud and Jenny (cousin), Judy (Mom's younger sister), and Jim|
And yes, I finally stepped out from behind the lens and made it into a few family portraits. I will treasure these all forever. I hope it's not quite that long before I see my family again.
|Lears: Dad, Nancy (my aunt), Bob (my uncle) and Diane, Michelle (cousin via Bob), Garrett (cousin via Nancy), and Carol (my dad's aunt); Corey, Charles, me, Beth (2nd cousin via Carol), and John (uncle)|