Have I reached the point in my life where I mostly see some of my loved ones at weddings, funerals and select special holidays?
We had occasion recently to see some good friends ... a man I used to work with and his wife. But it wasn't a happy occasion.
Earlier this year, we saw the two of them at a funeral. His younger brother had died. It was very sad.
Shortly thereafter, my friend quit his job here, and moved with his wife and baby daughter to another part of the province to live with his mother. Her health was less than ideal. The young family picked up and moved to start a new life there.
When I saw them again, it was when he was in the city to run a marathon. But his mom was in hospital, her future unclear.
Next I saw the two of them again, it was at my wedding. He graciously emceed the event, and brought class and joy to an already fabulous day.
But things took a tragic turn again when we got word that his mother had died in hospital. I didn't know it, but she'd been in increasingly poor health for months, with my friend taking on much of the burden of care. It was the H1N1 flu that finally sealed it.
We traveled across the province for the funeral, and it was strange to see them so ... so together. I know he was brought up in the church, and has strong family ties in the community. But I can't imaging being so steady in the face of repeated blows like that.
I know it's a cliche that bad things happen to good people, but it's people like these who make cliches come alive. These are good folks. Really good folks. And it's so hard to see so many difficult things happening in their lives. In just one year. But I'm hopeful for the future. They're breaking ground on a new home by the ocean. They have a young and growing family. They have love.
To all the people I hold dear -- I'm sorry I don't get to see you more often. It was a treat to have you at the wedding. I hope the next time we meet, it'll be at another happy occasion. Or even a non-occasional occasion. I just hope the year ahead will be full of happy meetings and reunions. Marking happy relationships by sad meetings seems like an awfully dark way to live.
Lots of hugs and positive thoughts to you all.
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