Wednesday, December 10, 2014
I have been reflecting on family quite a bit, what with it being the holiday season and all. Most people will probably tell you I think about family all the time, especially those that have passed on many years before. I had been thinking about it even more than normal for the pass few weeks, because I lost a cousin the week of Thanksgiving on November 24th from my Mom’s side of the family and this week on December 7th from my Dad’s side of the family. My husband had also lost two family members the week of Thanksgiving, so needless to say death has been on my mind quite a bit recently.
Steve lost his battle with lung cancer and was 11 years older than me and was really my Mom’s first cousin, but he would always bring his Mom, my great-aunt Chris over from Evansville to my Mamaw Fraley’s house across the river in Kentucky, whenever I came to town visiting. Aunt Chris always made the best chess pies and she knew how much I loved them so she would make two, one for all of us to eat and one just for me. Steve was always so good to bring her over to see her sister, Daisy, my Mamaw anytime she wanted and I always appreciated him taking the time to bring her over when I came to town too. I know my Aunt Chris misses him so much, she still lives in Evansville and celebrated her 93 birthday last month. When I had called to wish her a happy birthday, she had told me that Steve wasn't doing well and she was afraid she was going to lose him, and 4 days later she did. I will sure miss seeing him to the next time I go home.
My cousin, Lisa was just 8 months older than me and her Dad and my Dad were brothers. We played together quite a bit as kids, but in our teenage years was the last time we had seen each other, until almost 3 years ago when I was back home visiting family. I had gone to Kentucky in April of 2012 for two weeks. While there I visited with my Mom’s family in Henderson and then went down to Franklin and Murray to visit with some of my Dad’s family too. I went to see Aunt Lucy because I knew she had just gotten out of the hospital, and I wanted to check on her and make sure she was doing well. I found out that Lisa was now living with her and so it was going to be good seeing my Aunt Lucy and Lisa once again. I had no idea at the time that it was going to be the last time I would see Lisa. Unfortunately I don’t know much about Lisa’s life passed high school. I know she was married a couple of times and I know she has a couple of boys, but other than that nothing else.
There ought to be a simpler way for everyone to keep better in touch with each other. It is so sad, that once we get out of school we don’t. I can see it happening, losing touch with kids you went to school with, but with family there ought to be a better way to keep in touch. I know we are all scattered all across the United States, but that shouldn't really stop us from keeping in touch with each other. Facebook has really helped and I have been able to communicate with cousins that way that I hadn't seen in years, now to try and find all of them that would be so cool. I have 49 first cousins just on my Dad’s side of the family, but only 10 first cousins on my Mom’s side.
Just this past Sunday, December 7th I was able to visit with two of my first cousins from my Dad’s side of the family. Two of my Dad’s brother Bill’s kids, Wayne and Joanne, it had been 50 years since we had seen each other last. I had seen Uncle Bill and Aunt Margie a few times over the years, but not any of their kids since the summer of 1963 at Lake Berryessa in Napa County, California. They are a little older than me and lived in California, while we lived in Kentucky, but we just lost touch and hopefully that will not ever happen again. We had such a fantastic visit and I don’t think there was ever a lull in the conversation. Great food, great company, lots of old pictures and stories flowed non-stop. Of course we did have 50 years to try and catch up on.
The following is a poem a distant cousin sent me after the death of my Papaw, Ermon Fraley in 1994. I have read it every year since and hopefully it will bring comfort to others who have lost family members.
“Christmas in Heaven”
~In loving memory of all those who are spending their first Christmas in Heaven~
I’ve had my first Christmas in Heaven;
A glorious, wonderful day!
I stood with the saints of the ages,
Who found Christ the Truth and the Way.
We sang the glad songs of redemption.
How Jesus to Bethlehem came.
And how they called his name Jesus,
That all might be saved through his name.
Oh, Darling, I wish you had been here;
No Christmas on earth could compare.
With all the rapture and glory
We witnessed in Heaven so fair.
You know how I always loved Christmas;
It seemed such a wonderful day.
With all of my loved ones around me,
The children so happy at play.
Yes, now I can see why I loved it;
And, Oh, what a joy it will be,
When you and my loved ones are with me.
To share in the glories I see.
So dear ones on earth, here’s my greetings;
Look up ‘till the Day Star appears.
And, Oh, what a Christmas awaits us,
Beyond all our partings and tears!!
By: A. S. Reitz
Merry Christmas everyone!!!