In the last ten days since we discovered my dad was ill, we've been spending a great deal of time celebrating and having fun. We've been strengthening our family ties and making our already strong bonds even stronger. We are so blessed to have been given this time, and we're making the most of every single teeny tiny incy wincy minute.
My aunts and uncles met together with us for morning tea after church yesterday. We munched through my cousin's raspberry muffins, my aunt's pattycakes and another cousin's choc chip bikkies. We sipped on Dad's Drambuie (the bottle the same aunts and uncles gave him for his birthday last weekend), and nice cappuccinos. We looked through the album of photos from last weekend's festivities. We talked, we laughed, we loved and we cared. We were all there together for a common purpose, and spending that time together was the most important thing in the world.
Later, at afternoon tea time, our own nuclear family: parents; siblings; and sibling-in-laws were at it again. Drinking tea and eating more deliciously unnecessary sweet stuff. We were celebrating life; we were celebrating each other; we were celebrating family.
We cracked open Hubby's much loved bottle of Martell Extra, and drank Dad's Glenlivet from plastic medicine cups. (Later we thought to bring up the crystal glasses, but the medicine cups were more fun.) What's the point of putting good bottles away for a special occasion - there will never, ever, be a better time than right now. Family time.
There is little doubt that this will be the pattern of our days over the coming weeks. The amount of alcohol might of necessity be allowed to deminish slightly, in deference to our livers, but the coming together as family, the laughter, the joy and the happiness of being together will continue. Our family will endure.
Given the same circumstances, would yours? Are your family ties firm? It times of difficulty would you pull together or fall apart? Do you express your love to the important people in your life now? Before it is too late?
One day soon the memories we are creating now will be all we have. Those hugs, those kisses, those prayers, those stories shared - these will sustain us through the dark days. We will remember the good times. But even then we will build on them. In those days we will gather together again. We will drink champagne. We will laugh, and we will cry. In the hard times our family will not be torn asunder, our family in those days will be strengthened even more.
Our family will be strong enough to withstand the bad times because in the good times we are making sure it will be.