I woke up this morning to a packed out bed. My 6 and 3 year old crawled in some time early this morning. Even in a king-sized bed – four’s a crowd. I decided at 6:30 a.m. that it was time to get out of bed, and go sleep in their bunk beds. But at 6:30 a.m. the sun is already making its appearance, and my mind is already racing. So naturally I grab my phone, and jump on Facebook to get a daily dose of what the world did while I slept. I realized if I wanted to get my Bible reading out of the way I needed to do it before my littles woke up.

I hopped onto She Reads Truth to follow along with the Ruth Bible study. As I started the last portion of my reading I saw a verse I had highlighted some time ago.

“The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness”

                                                                                                                   Psalm 41:3

Two words were written next to that verse, and it took a moment to recover after I read them.

Uncle Larry

It’s been almost 3 years since he’s passed away. The road from his accident to his death was a long and weary road. Full of tears, questions, broken hearts, separation, and heartbreak. When there is tragedy, there is always restoration that is walking alongside it, and revealing itself in small ways. I know that during that time people found faith in God. I know that it made us cherish our family more. I’m sure there are stories I’ll never know about how in the midst of our families tragedy someone found life.

This is where I veer off course a bit. Although I know those things to be true, I struggled after my uncle passed. Struggle doesn’t do the torment I went through justice. I struggled more after his death then after his accident.  After his accident, I begged and pleaded and prayed to God to PLEASE heal him. Let him be a modern day miracle. Please, let him sit up from that bed fully restored. I prayed for 7 long years! My faith wavered, but never faltered. I HAD to believe God would restore him, because afterall, my aunt had passed not 2  years prior, to breast cancer. I felt like God owed us one.

During his time in his coma or whatever it was categorized as, there were a few stories of people who woke up from their comas after 2, 5, 9 years. I thought his restoration and healing were right around the corner. The months turned into years and still nothing. That’s not to say that he didn’t improve in small ways. He stayed with us for another 7 years.

He passed away right before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving! Can you believe that? While some family members were glad he was finally at peace I wrestled with God about it day and night. We were like a couple headed for divorce. I yelled, cried, and screamed at Him. I gave Him the silent treatment. I wished I never knew Him. I thought it would’ve been easier had I never had the hope he was selling. Ignorance it bliss, right? I cried so many tears. My uncles funeral was very surreal. I was going through the motions. Enjoying the stories about him, and wishing this was all a horrible nightmare. At the end, family was saying their goodbyes as they walked up to his coffin. I wasn’t going to do it, but I did.

I lost it a little when I went up there. I grabbed his hand, and it was cold. Nothing like the warm, huggable, tender-hearted cowboy that I hugged on so many occasions. Not the man that would pick me up and call me a sack of tomatas when I was little. Not the man that came to my rescue when I had car troubles. Not the man that walked me down the aisle, and whispered in my ear to take it one step at a time. Not the man that stood in as my father figure when my own didn’t have the time for me. I know he wasn’t in that coffin, but it shook me to the core when I touched his hand. I wanted to scream at God! WHY!!!?!?!?!?! Why did you take him??

Three years in November. Even as I write this I can’t stop crying. I miss him so much! My heart aches when I start to think about him. That verse!! So no God didn’t heal him. Am I upset about it? I was very upset about it. Am I still? I guess. I don’t really know anymore. If I could bring him back I would. I miss his one-liners. I miss his hugs. I miss his voice. I really miss that scratchy beard of his. I see diesel trucks everyday, and I think of him.

I wanted to say something profound about restoration here, but I’m struggling with even that. I’ll say this – Uncle Larry’s restoration is complete. Even if it’s not the way I wanted  it to happen. He is fully restored in Heaven with my aunt Liz and my grandpa. I guess my heart needs a little more restoration then I thought.











What is family?

I know there are those that say family isn’t always your blood relatives, and that certainly is true. Family is what you make it or whom you make it with. All true.

But what about your FAMILY?

The ones that are your blood relatives. The ones you grew up with? That were you automatic best friends.

The definition of Family is this: any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins.

Family certainly can evolve throughout the years. Those that come into the family through marriage, birth, adoption. Those that leave us through death. They will always be loved and missed. To be seen again someday. But what about the family that voluntarily leaves? The ones that choose to separate themselves from other family members? For a multitude of reasons I’m sure. Some justifiable and some not. Does it hurt any less than a death? Or does it hurt more than a death? With death there is a finality to it perhaps. But when a family member or members CHOOSE to leave “the family” doesn’t it break your heart?  Such a rapid departure from family stirs up so many feelings. My favorite: ANGER!!! My best emotion or my most prominent one. It’s my smoke screen to my other emotions that I don’t want others to see.

I look at my family like this:

Grandparents (My mom’s parents)

Then my aunts & uncles which there were/are five of:

Then the kids of each of those five, there grandkids, and their great grandkids.

We’ve had some family members come to us through marriage. We have blended families and family that we have through foster care. So we might not all be blood related, but we are related somehow. And that’s what I love about my family. Even in-laws of cousins have somehow woven into the fabric of my big family & I love it! I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Through the years though there was a crack in the foundation of it all. A crack slowly making its way through the foundation of what I’ve thought my family to be. I’m sure there is always an underlying earthquake shaking up any family. I saw it growing up, but I somehow thought that it was strong even through those rough times.

When my grandpa passed away I felt a jolt to the beating heart of our living, breathing, moving, loving family. Or when a mountain begins to crumble a piece falls off, and then slowly other parts start to crumble off. The foundation shifted. We were hit by such a huge blow when he left us. Christmas Eve wasn’t held at my grandparents anymore. From time to time we would have it, but not at the same momentum we did when he was alive.

My grandpa passed away in his home with all the family surrounding him. So many random thoughts are vivid in my memory. But the one thing that I will never forget:  He had already passed away. My entire family was there talking. Eating. Just going on about there business. We were waiting for someone to come pick up his body. I was sitting at the foot of the bed he was in, and it all seemed so wrong and strange to me. How could we all be there talking, eating, laughing when he was dead. I just sobbed. Gasping sobs. I couldn’t control it. My mom was rubbing my head and holding me. We had just lost him! He was gone, and I couldn’t bring myself to accept it. Then my little 2 1/2 year old, Platinum hair, blue-eyed little cousin, Brooke, came up and put her little hand on my leg and tried to comfort me. I’m not sure if I went off into a fit of hysterics or calmed down, but THAT is what family is. When they heart of a 2 1/2 year old knows the pain of her older cousin.  THAT IS MY FAMILY.

LORD JESUS! I’m bawling my eyes out again!

I’m almost forgetting other major events that went on after my grandpa passed. Marriages. Divorces. Babies. Babies are my favorite. We always have plenty of babies in our family. I do believe we went a Christmas or two without a new baby, but that didn’t last long. There were family “issues”. Either always there or building up.

I was hit by a drunk driver December of 2001. I was rushed to UC Davis to save my left leg. One of the most horrific times of my life, but oddly a time that I remember that my family came together. En Masse. I remember in between my drug induced fogs my mom telling me about all the family that sat in the waiting room during my emergency surgery. I felt loved. I really did. I remember my Uncle Larry telling me the story of when he found out I’d been hit. I would cry every time he told me. Or when my cousin Brian was the sheriff on scene that night when I was hit. All my family that came to visit me. My cousin who surprised me from Idaho. I sobbed when I saw her. Or my cousins wife & kids when they brought me a Christmas tree & decorated my side of the hospital room because I was there during Christmas. I still have that tree. That time was the worst time of my life, but my family was there. Supporting me. Checking on me. Praying for me.

Then it felt like the crack started to grow. Shift. Makes it’s way through family members and divide us. Then my Aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, and then passed away after a long battle. The crack got bigger. Marriage. Babies. Divorces. Moving to different states. Then not too long after that my uncle fell off a roof and ended up in a coma for 7 years before he passed away. Those seven years seemed like a nightmare for more reasons than one. Some family members angrily walked away. While another portion was taken back into the fold, and loved on regardless of the situation at hand.  My children were born during this time. Happiest moments of my life. The light in the darkness. Other babies were born. Babies are the best. Still there remained a disconnect from other family members. Some still choose not to be apart of us. Others have decided to walk the tight rope between the two. Others simply let life get in the way of a connection. Or maybe they just don’t feel a connection.

All of this to say:  What is life without family?

Maybe because I’m the wise old age of 35 quickly going on 36, but it’s getting to me so much more now than it ever has. Maybe because I have children. I don’t know why. I just don’t understand the disconnect!! Gosh! Some of this “stuff” (the nicest way I can say it) is out of absolute hatred and…..I don’t have the words. I just want to shake some people. Smack them around & scream : “WAKE UP!!!!!! What are you trying to prove?? What are you doing??????? We are FAMILY for crap sake!!!” I don’t pretend to think that even if all was to become well with whomever that we’ll have big slumber parties at our houses, and have a commune together. I just…..I just don’t understand! It hurts! It’s mean! It’s not even just mean there is just an outright disregard for loving our family. If I could rewind, and change things oh how I wish I could!! To somehow alter the course of things so that there wouldn’t be such a great divide.

Again all this to say isn’t that the plan really. The master plan. The spiritual warfare so to speak? That Satan is here to conquer and divide. Doesn’t he start with families? In marriages? Amongst siblings? I’m so tired of it! I don’t want this crap anymore. I just want my family. All of them. Crazy or not!

“Don’t worry about the family that ignores you and acts like you don’t matter.  Love the ones that are always there for you no matter what.”

My cousin sent this to me when I was struggling with a family departure so to speak. I truly do have great family that loves me and that’s there for me. Regardless. And I try to let some things go with others, but it’s really hard. I still love all my family. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Regardless of their feelings towards me.

I take that back maybe I do wish it would all work out & we can have a commune. And slumber parties. I kind of have this fantasy that we’re like the Braverman Family. Even with all the crap we still manage to get together in the backyard with the twinkling lights, and celebrate with family simply because we are FAMILY.