Why is it that as we get older, we only see certain people at weddings and funerals? I, too, am a culprit of this. This past week I learned just how bad it has gotten.
Tuesday night, I attended the wake of my Uncle Mac – my father’s brother-in-law. I arrive at the funeral home two hours into the four-hour block of visiting time, and there’s a line out the door. “It’s been like that since I got here two hours ago,” my sister Donna says. Here are all these people, lining up to pay their respects to my uncle — my uncle who I haven’t seen in probably five years, and even then it was very brief. What did Uncle Mac mean to all of these people? How had he touched their lives? I wish I could have sat with my Aunt Virginia and asked her who everyone is and who they are to Uncle Mac.
We rarely see my father’s side of the family. No reason, really. We just never have. Just the same, I took my place in the line and slowly made my way to the casket. What would I say to all the people in the receiving line? I know I am related to them, but I don’t know any of their names. As I scan their faces, I see one man who resembles my brother. The similar features are comforting and familiar.
My mother, being the angel that she is, comes through the line with me and re-introduces me to all of my cousins. What a time to get reacquainted. But they are all gracious and lovely. Some make me try and guess their names. I haven’t seen them in probably 20 or 25 years! Fortunately, being someone who takes comfort in the gathering of information, I had gone to the funeral home’s website and read Uncle Mac’s obituary, where it listed his children’s names (all six of them), so at least I have a mental list from which to guess!
Then the inevitable comments are made. “We should see each other more often.” “Why do we go so long without seeing one another?” “Let this be the launch pad for a family reunion someday.” The intentions are all true and sincere. And I think it would be great to get to know this side of my family, but I fear the busyness of life will sweep in yet again and prevent that from happening.
Wait. Aren’t I a life coach who helps other create the time in their lives for the things they really want? For the people they want to spend more time with? Yes, I am. But I am also human.