“The heart that truly loves has no room for grudges.” ~ Ghanaian Proverb
Funerals are strange things really. Overwhelming grief in the midst of boundless gratitude. Between the tears are laughter, stories, and heartfelt hugs. I will not lie and say today was a bundle of fun. It was one of the saddest days I’ve ever had. Still, despite bone deep sadness, I stand in awe of just how spectacular my family is. We are a strong, hearty hillbilly bunch, and we’re more alike than probably most of us care to admit. But it’s true. We were made from salt of the Earth stock and it shows on days like this. How perfect cousin Michael’s graveside service was, urging us to be glad of the time we had with James; to be thankful in the memories we share, and not just with James, but with each other; to continue to love and accept love. Ultimately, I think grief is meant to make us grateful. And if we’re not grateful for what we have, and for those whom we love, then we’ve lost the lesson entirely. Therein lies the real tragedy. I know I’m grateful for every single member of my family. For all they are, and for all they are not, but mostly for loving each other enough to show up when it really matters: Mamaw, Papaw, Randolph, Lucille, dad, mom, Greg, Virginia, Phillip, Linda Gail, Mabel, Ralph, Linda (even somehow ‘ol crazy Vernon), Barbara, Bill, Lois, Galen, Harold, Phyllis, Darrel, Judy, Ralph Paul, Nila, Danny, Sherry, Charlene, Roger, James Trent, Marcie, Michael, Rhonda, Ann, Danny, Tamara, Curt, Jeff, Kelly, Richard, Christine, Mark, Eddie, Daphne, Missy, Mike, Renee, Aaron, Lanelle, Brian, Jessica, Eric, Evyian, Robyn, Kevin, Misty, Tina, Brittany, Robby, Kevin, Lisa, Steven, Ryan, Michelle, Jordan, Cayleigh, Codi, Austin, Dylan, Amanda, Allison, Joey, Pierce, Katy, Samantha, Ava, Sophia, Sydnie, McKenzie, Macie, AJ, Adam, Logan, Lynsey, Austin, Ashtyn, Carter, Ray, Gryffin, Gunnar, and #52 (still in the oven), plus all of Mamaw and Papaw’s nieces and nephews some of whom came to the funeral or visitation last night. My life has more blessings than stars in the sky.