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Family

Family is a funny thing.

As I grew up, we made regular but infrequent visits to my aunts, uncles and cousins.  My dad's side of the family - the English half - we would usually see once a year, at Christmas.  Every three years, usually in the summer, we would go spend a few weeks with my mom's family in the USA.  When you have memories of little Lizzie slipping her hand into yours as you walked down the street, or of baking Lucky Charms cookies with Eva, you feel like you should know these people.

With my American cousins, 1994
Then you start counting, and realise you barely need ten fingers to add up the number of times you have seen them.  Not just in the last ten years.  In your whole life.

And now, some of them are gone.  There never will be a chance to get to know them better.  And although you can hardly grieve a person you knew so little, they were family.  Those nebulous threads stringing us all together have just tweaked and tightened a little; and like a spider's web catching the sun, you suddenly see the strength and fragility of a line you hardly knew was there.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that my Uncle Ben, my mother's oldest brother, passed away at the end of September.  At the beginning of this week his youngest son died of a heart infection.  William was 26, and his wife had just had a little girl.  These two blows, so close together, have by no means been the only difficulties the family has had to face these last few years, but they are certainly some of the hardest.

You all have families of your own.  And you know I'm not in the habit of using this blog to solicit donations.  But I hope you also understand why I feel like I want to do whatever I can to help out my family in a hard time.  If you are able to offer a little blessing to them, I know they would appreciate it.  The link is here: William's funeral fund.

 
Image credit: Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be

In memoriam: Ben Blake, William Blake.
And for all those who love them.

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