“Your dad wandered off 30 minutes ago, and I haven’t seen him since.”
This is not what you want to hear when you arrive at New York Penn Station to greet your aunt and your father. Certainly not when your father suffers from dementia, and certainly not when you’re in a place that 650,000 travelers pass through each day. Not when you know the sacrifice it was for your aunt to travel via train for eight+ hours to bring your dad to NYC. Also not when you have a rambunctious two-year-old in tow, who’s been eagerly anticipating seeing “Grandpa.”
Our annual family reunion was a couple weeks ago in Buffalo Junction, VA, and I finally got a chance to sort through all of the photos I took, which meant having a chance to relive all of the fun and funny moments.
There were lots of great memories made, and in hopes that I don’t forget them, I put together my family reunion top 10 highlights.
This time last week, we were on a farm in Buffalo Junction, VA, staying in the home where Jordan’s grandmother was born 90 years ago. We were there for our annual family reunion, for time to catch up with people we love, for the chance to unplug, thanks to no phone or internet service whatsoever.
It’s always a really rich time that reminds us of the importance of family and heritage (you can read about last year’s special time here).
One of the highlights of this year’s trip was getting to sit down with our oldest relative, Cousin George (our grandmother’s first cousin), who is 97-years-old and has one of the very sharpest minds. We spent nearly three hours talking about everything from his father’s experience as a slave to what makes for a good marriage, to his perspective on race relations today.
Last week marked eight years since my first husband, Jarronn, passed away. Each year, as the date approaches, I do a lot of reflecting. Not so much about Jarronn — I still think about him regularly, regardless of the time of year. But more so about what it was like for me to go through such an earth-shattering loss. The shock. The depths of my grief. The blurry moments of trying to pick up the pieces.
Along with all of that, I can’t help but also think about the gestures made by others that helped me walk through it all. The anniversary of Jarronn’s death marks a time of deep sadness, but it also marks a time when I experienced kindness from other people in a way I never had before.
Today I’m celebrating four years of being married to my husband Jordan. These past four years have been incredibly rewarding, both for the way they’ve filled me with joy and for the way they’ve challenged and refined my character.
To mark the day, I’m sharing both mine and Jordan’s answer to one question: What’s the biggest thing you learned in this past year of marriage?