I made reference in my last post that I needed to write about family and this journey. First I need to clarify my beliefs about family, mostly because I have friends that I consider family in more ways than one. Some of those friends know me better than some of the people I am actually related too. However, I believe that regardless of the details of the ties or the amount of time spent together…….. Family Ties are Eternal.
We were sent to our specific family for a reason. The family environment helps us develop and become who we are. Family is the best option to help us through our mortal journey and the return trip to our Father in Heaven.
I believe that in the life before we carefully decided who we wanted to walk this road with and they became our family. Living and growing up with these same people can be the best grounding we can have for who we are and who we are meant to be. Siblings are a critical part of our support system regardless of how much time we spend with each other as we move from children to adults with our own little families.
It is impossible to separate from those we spent our developmental moments with even, if they drive us crazy! Not that I have any siblings that fit that category. I am so grateful for those great souls I have walked with and I look forward to passing the years as their families grow and change too.
It needs to be said here that I am aware that there are many childhood homes that can be filled with dysfunction and it can be a hindering component in our lives too. I actually believe that ALL homes have some kind of weirdness, mild or severe whether we are open about it or not.
It is innate in the family structure that parents are not able to “perfectly” build an environment for each person. We live in a group setting, with many characters with different needs and personalities. This diversity in our own family leads to the life long road of acceptance, forgiveness and tolerance.
But, I believe that even in those struggles they still help define who we are. As we rise above those difficulties we gain strength in ways that would not be available to us otherwise. That is not to glorify abuse or mistreatment but to testify that we all have things in our lives that are stumbling blocks but I have faith that we can climb over, under or around those detours and still find our way on the path.
I don’t personally have the ancient history with John’s family or the spouses of my siblings, but can barely remember a time that they were not part of my family. I love them all regardless of how they became family to me. So when I mention family and siblings, I am referring to parents; in-laws or not, siblings I grew up with and siblings that I acquired through marriage. I don’t make a distinction between the two groups. All of them have made an impact on my life and I am grateful for my association with them. I am better for having known them.
Parents (myself included) are not perfect but they are endowed with gifts that allow us to develop in a way that will help us in our future lives. I believe in giving time and respect for those that invested time and energy in our developmental years, perfect or not. I cannot even begin to account for all of the time and money John and I have spent to maintain these relationships.
For us, those relationships require a large investment because of the distance. We have no regrets! We live just far enough to make visiting a huge sacrifice of time and money but not far enough away to relieve us of the desire to be a part of what is going on. Spending time is the only way these relationships are maintained. That knowledge makes all the miles clicking a way on my odometer worthwhile. History proves family as a priority in our lives.
Strict biology dictates that at some point we will celebrate without our parents and that we step up to fill the role of matriarch and patriarch in our own clan. I hope it is far off and in the distant future. Time spent with family now gives perspective, clarity, focus and peace for the time when we are expected to fly solo with our loved ones watching from an unseen place.
I believe that generations before me sacrificed for the gifts I take for granted today. Those who have passed on watch over us on in mortality. We owe a debt of gratitude for the struggles they endured to give us the strength to endure our own trials.
I believe that families have distinct skill and mind sets. I don’t know many of the characters in my dad’s family line but I do believe that one day I will and I will be able to trace many of my own characteristics there as well.
In my mother’s family line there is a distinction known as the “Prince Women”. This trait could be spoken with revered awe or complete disdain depending on the situation and both would be accurate.
I believe that these characteristics were developed through generations to help this “breed” of women along in their lives. It is a two edged sword for sure. These women are strong willed, independent, intelligent, opinionated, hardworking, relentless, and realistic and are not easily controlled. So if you want a passive woman you better look elsewhere.
I am often referred to as a “spitfire, feisty or a fireball” and rarely, a “Prince Woman”. Sometimes it is a compliment but more often as a chastisement or an insult. I really have tried to tame that beast here, but it comes from my double helix.
The “Prince Women” are also honest to a fault, extremely sensitive, intuitive, trusting, loving, compassionate and full of faith and optimism. These women are fiercely loyal and dependable.
You just have to hope and pray with all you have, that they are headed in the right direction because trying to change their mind is not an easy task and not one I would encourage. Gladly, most of the time they stand on the side of right.
I can look through the family stories and see where these characteristics became a life line to those in past generations. I can also look into my own life and see how many of those same traits have shaped my life and helped me through the worst of times, especially during this most recent journey. I see those traits being essential for Maddi as she struggles to accept her limitations and her new life. I am grateful for the legacy.
Sometimes our lives push us beyond our own abilities. We are faced with disappointments and struggles that are completely out of our control. Families not only support us in this life but our ancestors offer their strength, faith and abilities as well.
As Maddi was coming out of her coma she kept talking about the people who were with her in her “still” time. I can testify that she wasn’t alone in that place. I could feel the presence of people remembered and those unknown. I remember thinking I wish I had a calendar to write down the names of the people I felt with us during that time. It was real and undeniable. Most of the characters Maddi talked about I barely knew. I remember recognizing distinctly when Grandma Dorothy and Grandma Beth were with Maddi.
I spent many Wednesdays visiting with Grandma Dorothy and I love her deeply! I know her and I recognized when she was there. My Grandma Beth lived with us for a couple of winters while I was growing up. I learned so many lessons while working side by side with her. I love her also, she is a rare woman. It was like running into an old friend when you least expected, but at the time you needed them the most.
Maddi mentioned many other deceased family members but I didn’t recognize them. I knew we weren’t alone but I couldn’t tell you who was there. Maybe it was because I didn’t know the others as well. Maybe it was because I was tired, stressed or just not in tune at that moment. I don’t know but it isn’t an issue for me.
It was interesting that all of those attending Maddi were in some way related. I don’t think that was an accident and I know it was not a fabrication of what she expected to find on that side of the veil.
Grandma Beth and Dorothy died when Maddi was under the age of 2. She has no memory of ever meeting Grandma Beth in this life. I have no pictures of either of these women displayed in my home. Maddi was able to tell me things about these women that she could not have known.
My Grandma Beth had severe osteoporosis at the end of her life. Where once she stood tall and erect she died, small and hunched over. One of the things Maddi said about Grandma Beth was; “I thought Grandma Beth was supposed to be short. She was tall. I didn’t know she was tall” she also said, “I thought grandmas were supposed to be old. She wasn’t old or young”
It gives credence to the divine nature of the family. Why would those people come to Maddi instead of someone else? Why not have a generic greeter like those found at Wal-mart? Families have eternal significance not just genealogical. We are meant to strengthen each other and I know for a fact that family support doesn’t just stop in this life.
I wonder how many times we have been surrounded by past loved ones without knowing. I wonder how often they look in on us to see how we are doing. It gives reason to pause to think how many family cheerleaders we have beyond the veil. It gives us a reason to keep on trying even during the worst experiences. It gives us a reservoir of strength to draw from that is completely out of view.
I am so grateful for the tiny inkling I did recognize from beyond the veil of mortality. I am overwhelmed at the detail given to this plan of salvation. I am grateful for family members living on earth and those gone before. My faith moved to knowledge as I was given a deeper glimpse into the divine structure of families.
Families are Eternal!