When I was younger, I used to think of my family as a forest of trees. Always standing, always strong. It didn’t matter what happened, I knew I was protected by the vast numbers of my loved ones.

But as I grew older, I noticed a shift, a change in my forest. No longer did I feel protected; I felt very vulnerable. My family slowly shifted, and instead of being in the background–protected from the winds and hardships of this world–I was projected to the front lines. I was now doing the protecting.

Family, loss, grief, children
Yesterday, we laid to rest another matriarch of my family: my Great Aunt Marjorie. She lived to be well into her 80s, and had 6 children. She was the wife of a World War II veteran, and she was the last living sibling of my Grandmother.

Looking at my Grandmother, I can see the sadness in her eyes. She is now the only one left. Mother, father, husband, sisters, and brothers, and even son had passed away and laid to rest; all that’s keeping her here is my mother and her grandchildren as well as great-grand child.

I cannot imagine what it’s like to be the last one standing in your family, the same very protection you felt slowly crumbles away, and you are left naked and alone once again. But I can imagine it, since it will be a fate that some of us will have in our futures.

You always think that you have more time to get to know someone, that what ever you need to get done can wait until tomorrow. Sometimes tomorrow never comes, sometimes you have to do those things today.

 

They always say that life is short. But I don’t believe that. Living is the longest thing you’ll ever do.

 

My Great Aunt lived. She lived her life to the fullest. She raised 6 children, buried her mother, father, husband and two sons–still she had the will to continue on.  She raised her children Catholic, and most of them have managed to remain in faith–strong and faithful as the day they were Baptized.

My family of forests may be hurting, and slowly being brought down due to age and illness, but to my daughter, that forest is strong, and vibrant and her protector.

No matter what happens, I know I will be the strongest tree that I can be to protect her. I will have the strongest branches to protect her from being hurt, and the knowledge to know when to bend so she can grow.

When her world changes–and I know it will in time–she wouldn’t have to worry about feeling lost.

The trees may have fallen, but they will always leave an imprint that can never be removed or forgotten.

Family, loss, grief, children


This post was added to the #WorthRevisit linkup hosted by Theology is a Verb, and Reconciled to You.