I attended my great uncle Wes’s funeral today. I never like the idea of going to funerals but every time I go I am glad I did. I didn’t spend a lot of time around Uncle Wes. Mostly I would see him at family events at my grandmother’s (He is my Grandmother Della’s brother.) The image I always remember is of him taking care of his wife Velma. She has MS and he was always by her side to help her when she needed help. He retired at 62 after 32 years as an elementary school teacher to spend more time with her. Some of his former students attended and said that years later they would still contact him when they needed someone to talk to. He was also the family historian. I never did get some of the pictures he asked for to him.
A couple of things struck me about the funeral. These are things I know but it hits you harder when you see it. One is that the family structure endures. You might be annoyed by your family at times. As a youth you fight with and beat on your siblings. As a teenager you grow sick of them as you try to make your way towards adulthood. As an adult you complain about the times your family gets in the way, messes up your busy schedule or takes up your precious time.
However, the key to this is that you can complain and they still remain your family. At the end of the day they stick by you. I saw this as Uncle Wes’s family gathered around his wife to support and comfort her. I am sure the road ahead of her is a lonely one filled with a great deal of pain as she continues to battle MS without the companion that was there for her for many years. I watched my grandmother and her sister say goodbye to their brother. That was sad and somehow uplifting at the same time. Each of them have lost their husbands. They were there. Family. Together.
The point is that family endures.