Yesterday, I watched as my nephew married the love of his life. He is my sister Rhonda’s oldest son. Rhonda is my sister who I lost in May of this year from pancreatic cancer. As all of our family gathered to witness this beautiful occasion, the whispers of grief hung in the air. I had never witnessed such happiness and pain at the same time. When my brother-in-law placed the framed photo of my sister on the seat next to him, it was all too clear that someone was missing. I miss my sister every day, but times like these make me keenly aware of her absence. Because I have five grown children that are scattered all over the United States, it’s rare to gather them all together. At the wedding, I got four out of five! I missed not having my second son, but I was very grateful to have four of my kids here. I could feel the swell in my chest as I looked at the picture I took of them. I don’t think they realize the importance of seeing each other regularly like I do. Rhonda’s passing has made me more aware of the brevity of life. Sometimes I wonder why it always takes a tragedy in order to see things more clearly. I don’t know.

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