Today as I sat in my Aunt's funeral, I was reminded of how God has truly blessed our family. As you can probably guess, we have a huge extended family. My sister, Suzanne (#3) and I tried to count up how many FIRST cousins we have today. We counted 59. Fifty-nine FIRST COUSINS (and we may have missed a few).
Just a few days ago, I had eleven uncles and aunts. Six on my Dad's side and five on my Mom's side... all in or near their 70s.
We lost both sets of grandparents some time ago, but all my uncles and aunts (until this week) are still alive ... for which I'm more and more grateful.
Out of the 59 (give or take a few) cousins, we've lost two. My young cousin, Michael, died in a drowning accident when he was a toddler. I was very young then, and can barely remember going to the funeral. My Uncle Frank (my Dad's youngest brother) lost his daughter in August of this year after a long and difficult life. She was not expected to live passed her toddler years, but she had just celebrated her 35th birthday in July!
I am so thankful to be from a big family and to have so many relatives. I only wish we could see each other more often. We are all scattered across the map now, but it was so good to see my cousins today and to catch up on their lives even for a moment.
It is hard losing a precious family member, but in her life and even more so in her death, God proved His love. Life, and death, have a way of teaching us more about Him. I'm learning.
And I'm thankful for a gentle reminder in the pew of how great my God is and how good He is to me.
How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? Psalm 116:12
After the funeral, as we were driving to the Memorial Gardens, this song came on the radio. Perfect timing. Just before we parked came the last verse...
And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory's side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!