My grandmother passed away today at the age of ninety-six. She had been ill for the past six months and our family has been blessed to have the time to spend with her and to show her how much we loved her. As hard as it is to lose someone that I love so much, I feel blessed to have had her in my life for as long as I did. I also know that she has joined my grandfather, the love of her life, and they are together once more.
Saying goodbye to my grandmother has made me think a lot about life. So many of us are so caught up in the day-to-day grind that we forget how truly short our time on earth really is. How many of us step outside ourselves and really think about the person we are or the person we want to be? Do we strive to be present in the moment or do we spend most of our time chasing the mighty dollar? Too many days are filled by rushing from task to task without stopping to enjoy living. It makes me stop and think…our we leaving legacies that we could be proud of?
I hope that I am someone, like my grandmother, who has given more than she has taken. A person who has tried their best to help others, even when it has come with sacrifices. I want to be the type of person that people mourn the loss of and not someone who walked this earth with hate in my heart.
I’ve always said that it isn’t the objects you own or the money you have that people will remember you for when you’re gone, it is the memories and, ultimately, the love that you leave behind. That is truly what’s in a life.
When I think of family, I not only think of my relatives, but ultimately, I think of those around me that I love dearly and who are not related by blood. My family is made up of, in part, people that I have met over the years and that I have grown to love and respect no less than my traditional family. I have laughed, cried, and created memories with these friends and each of them holds a special place in my heart and in my life.
When I look back at how I met these special friends it amazes me to think of how seamlessly complete strangers found their way into my life and, eventually, into my heart. It may have started with a common interest, but then grew through shared experiences and trust until we were tightly bound together. If you think about it that’s also the way that we bond to our blood relatives.
What is wonderful about building a non traditional family, is that we never have to stop growing it. Each new phase of our life might welcome new friends and there is always the potential that you will connect to someone on that deeper level and sprout a new branch on your family tree.