|Washington State coastline|
I was a bit nervous going up to basically meet a lot of his relatives for the very first time. All of that faded away when we entered the church for the viewing and sharing of stories about their family matriarch. I was immediately taken aback by how much Liam's family was like my own. Both are large clans full of life, love and laughter even in a time of sorrow. Yes, they missed their loved one dearly, but they were not there to be sad, but to celebrate her life. That is what my family has always done as well. I felt like I had always been in that family and had known their grandmother my whole life because of the love that shined through from each and every one of them. This amazing woman had six children, over 20 grandchildren and over 40 great grand children. Two are still on the way! Their family continues to be blessed and I for one am so lucky to have been included in their celebration.
At the gatherings after the viewing and again after the funeral, the conversation, laughter and smiles continued full force...and loudly! I loved every single moment of it! The conversations all going on at the same time and people actually able to follow them all was again nostalgic for me. I am the oldest of six children. My mother is one of six as well. So picture all of us together, all the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in one house. Food, drink and nonstop conversations, discussions, laughter and yes a few tears from a few of the small ones colliding into each other after a bit too much play. THIS is family to me. THIS overwhelming wonderful group of people who you may not see very much of over the years, but when they are needed, will rally around and be your rock and support when you need it the most.
Being 2500 miles away from my clan has been very hard for me over the last 10 years. Sure, I made the trip home a few times and each time I was rejuvenated and could make it a bit more on my own. Now having shared this with Liam and his family, I feel whole again. I know that may sound a bit strange to some of you reading this, but being in the middle of all of the family "chaos" gave me peace. It also helped me make up my mind that I will make sure I visit my family in Michigan at least once a year and maybe some day in the future Liam can make the trip with me and meet my nutty, fiercely loyal and loving family too.
May the New Year bring each and every one of you laughter, smiles, hope and peace. May you find your inner Beacon and let it shine for all the world to see. May the next phase of your journey through life bring you closer to your heart's desire...and maybe even help you achieve it!