There are only so many hours in a week. Between doing what you have to do: work, grocery shopping, sleeping, eating, laundry, house cleaning, yard work, home repairs etc. etc. and what you choose to do: exercise classes, mall shopping, bill paying, craft classes, Tupperware, candle or whatever home parties, showers for mommies and new brides to be, church and church functions, clubs that you may belong to and are involved in, watching a favourite show on TV, going to the movies, car maintenance, babysitting, etc. etc., you can simply just run out of time. We don't see our extended family on a regular basis. Sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces, cousins, aunts and uncles may not touch base with us or us with them, for weeks or sometime months at a time. Most families have two sides, sometimes three sides, of extended family contacts. Then there those that we consider as family that technically aren't family by law but by love. They matter to us no less than blood relatives do.
Often, family news, is passed through email or by a chance meeting with someone somewhere. Emails keep us posted with who is doing what, mostly on a semi-regular basis. Most news received is by the "she told two people, who told two people" etc. etc. gossip mill. Phone call are used, mostly on an emergency only basis, when it comes to family other than direct(spouse/child/grandchild) immediate members.
I think, that this is the norm, in a lot families. It's not that we don't love, or care, about each other, it's just that life gets in the way.
We got some very disturbing news about one of our own this past week. A very serious medical problem was diagnosed for one of our young great-nephews. What was thought to be epilepsy had been diagnosed as a brain mass. Shock, upset and disbelief are the emotions that we have gone through in the past few days. Phone calls had to be made to more extended family and it was hard telling and re-telling the bad news. Tears have been shed. It would not have made a difference had we been in contact with the family on a daily basis. There is and was nothing that we could do or could have done to help the situation. Still we feel guilty that we should have been in contact all along and maybe the family in question would have felt stronger in this crisis.
We spoke to our nephew this past Wednesday. We asked him what we could do, how was he and his wife coping and how his young son was dealing with the situation. We apologised for not being in contact for some time and told him that even though we don't see or talk to each other more often than we do, that they always are, and have been, in our daily prayers and that we love them all very much. "Yes, we know you do. We love you too" was his answer to me. He then proceeded to apologise to us, for not keeping in contact more, but they have been so busy lately as well. It seems that they have everyday issues to deal on top of the sickness. It just goes to show that life gets into everyones way no matter what happens.
Will this serious illness bring us closer? We are already very close in our hearts. Once the danger has gone by will we see each other more? I hope so but in all probability, I don't think so. The problem with life is that it goes on. They are busy with three kids, a dog, a cat, a house, 2 cars, jobs, two sets of parents, numerous brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces and everyday life in general, as are we. We'll keep in touch less often, once this emergency situation has passed, but that doesn't mean we don't love each other. We will always love that bunch. They are blood and therefore part of our hearts. But life will demand time of all of us and there are only so many hours in the days, weeks and months. The only good thing about not seeing each other is that we know that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Post Script: Since putting this blog into a file and setting it aside for editing, we have had news that our great-nephew, after some very serious brain surgery, will be OK. The surgeons at "Sick Kids" have met with him, done tests and scans and are positive that he will grow up to be a "normal" kid. Yes, the surgery is still a scary thing but the specialists are confident in the outcome. Prayers are requested for the little guy for a full recovery.