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I have a friend that has a tattoo that says at the end. suppose it implying that family will always be there at the end for you, or you should be there for your family at the end, or maybe even, when it all said and done, family is what matters at the end.

I always been a bit jealous of my better half family. She is one of seven, and two of the siblings live locally, along with some cousins and aunts, and the rest reside in Oregon. So, we get to see them quite frequently.

My dad side of the family is pretty big, but along with him, they all live across the country in Maine. My mom was one of four children with a mom and a dad. Unfortunately, my grandfather had passed away when I was only 5, and my mom older sister Maxine passed from cancer when I was 9, and my mother passed away when I was 18 from breast cancer. My grandmother passed only three weeks after my mom, and then seven years ago, my uncle Michael, the youngest in the family, passed away from a series of different health issues.

The only relative left alive on my mom side of the family is my aunt, who was the oldest sibling, and she lives with us.

So, I don have a lot of blood family around, but I always considered my friends family.

Last weekend, I attended a memorial service of the grandfather of a few very close friends I had since childhood, along with the entire family.

This family is an extremely close family blessed with a lot of love (and a lot of grandkids and cousins). I was never particularly close with the grandfather, but he was the legend in the family. Married young and took on the responsibility of raising six boys that were not his blood. It was a very sweet service, and it was great to see so many members of this family that I haven seen in a while.

I took my better half with me, and I realized that I kept introducing people as and even though they weren blood uncles and aunts. As I listened to people talk about this man, I began to remember that this family had a long line of taking in cousins who may have been in a bad situation, and then I realized that even I for that matter was always treated like family, and they had been there a lot for me as a kid and as an adult. Having this love and being an honorary member of this family is probably what got me through the hard times of losing so many members of my blood family all through the years.

This act of this man who didn run screaming for the hills at the prospect of taking on raising six kids, and instead stepped up and took on the responsibility of becoming an instant parent, created a culture of love and support that spread not only through his own family, but out to other families, including mine. I grew up on that brand of love and loyalty, and while I not going to get a tattoo, I do believe in family at the end, and in the beginning and the middle.
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