I had the privilege to go to my family reunion this weekend (my mom’s dad’s side of the fam). I have not seen many of these relatives since I was a teenager. I’m almost 50, so in some ways I was re-meeting some cousins. I have one great Aunt still living. She is precious and seeing her smile is as endearing as it gets in this life. Her impact (along with the others) impacted my life greatly, mostly for their love and care for my mom.

Being with relatives in person gave context for snippets of things I remember. Memories seem more solidified somehow. In some way it feels like missing pieces of a puzzle were found. We gathered mostly from all over the state of GA– Savannah, Athens (Commerce), Atlanta. One from TX, My mom from FL and me, the “gypsy wanderer from everywhere”.

I noticed some similar family traits—skin, eyes, expressions. Those are the obvious visible things. It made me wonder about the invisible ones. Do we each share some propensity for a certain perspective? Are we equally as vulnerable in a certain way? Do we battle the same hurdles and obstacles in our mind?

My cousin Tina is working on info for the family tree. As we chatted about birth dates, marriage dates, birth cities etc, I imagined my Grandad, Aunts and Uncles as part of the mighty roots of a this huge Red Cedar Tree. Looking into the eyes of their offspring made me feel something good. It’s a grand thing that the goodness of them remain among us. When my 2nd cousin Willis hugged me, I immediately felt like my Uncle Wit was right beside me. When I chatted with my cousin Julie, my great Aunt Ruth seemed to be within reach. Over and over again, like a beautiful deja vu, I felt connected to someone from my past. Goodness remains in our memory. The not-so good we let go with the wind. We’re a blessed bunch to have each other.

I came away from an afternoon with these dear ones encouraged and connected. Afterward, we walked among the cemetery where our departed ones are buried. We brushed the red dirt from the top of the stone to read their names with reverence. We miss them.

I left with red dirt on my boots and also on my heart.