Just show up…

I spent part of Friday at a funeral. My uncle passed away, so I drove down to the funeral. I wasn’t the only one. There are 10 kids on my mom’s side, and 8 of the 9 living siblings showed up for the funeral. The one who couldn’t make it felt very bad, but they weren’t able to change travel plans. My mom’s sister passed away several years ago with breast cancer. It was her husband who passed recently after a stroke. As our family filled the fireside lounge, I looked around at how many aunts, uncles, cousins and their kids had made the trip to pay their respects. But mostly, they wanted to be there for my cousins. Although they are adults with kids of their own, I imagine it’s still difficult to lose a parent. This is something that has always struck me as special about this family – and I doubt many of them give it a second thought… they show up. They show up for weddings and funerals, graduations and parties. They show up for each other without thinking it’s a big deal. But it is. Especially to the people they show up for.

I think people get hung up on the right thing to say or do, when sometimes we just need to show up. A hug or a smile or a kind word goes a long way. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. They just need to know that someone cares. Regardless of what you do, it will be enough if you show up.

A few years ago, we had a family reunion on this side. There are around 100 of us, and that’s just the “immediate family.” We laughed and played games and ate & drank too much, and we were there for each other. I like to think that my kids learn more about family when this huge group is together. They learn how to be close even when miles separate them. They learn how to pick up where they left off. They learn how to play cards and laugh until you cry. Another reunion is in the works, and I’m honored to be planning it.

My aunt who passed was a neat lady. Red hair and a soft smile, she was also a planner. She was the glue that brought the family together. She planned events and parties but she really knew how to make people feel special. In the small North Dakota town where my grandparents lived, there used to be a Dairy Queen. I remember my aunt taking me there for a treat. Mostly, she made me feel seen, important & special. I was probably a pre teen at the time. That memory stuck with me. When someone compares me to her, I am extremely honored. I felt her presence at the funeral. I pictured her sitting next to me in the empty chair, and she was grinning. She was so glad her family had come together to honor her husband. She was glad they showed up.

So, I hope this will remind you that however you decide to show up, it will be enough. Visit the person who is lonely. Bring a meal to someone who is struggling. Just show up. Don’t worry about it being a big enough gesture. Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you know that God can dwell within you, and when we show up for each other, we are sharing that love.

PS- this beautiful necklace was given to me by my thoughtful niece… my saying and my birthstone. I’m so thankful.

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