I am writing this article Saturday afternoon (May 5th) as I am preparing to travel to northern Indiana where I was born and lived my first 22 years. Even though I have lived 63 years in Kentucky, the rural area between Fort Wayne and South Bend was always my home, not just by birth but also because my family has always lived there. I grew up in a family of six who made their living from the farm. Family was always important to me and my two older brothers and younger sister always included me in the family. Many of them have supported me in my life and work on Stinking Creek.
Now I am traveling north to remember my sister in her memorial service who has visited with me 15 months ago at the beginning of a failing time for her. I visited her last April and witnessed firsthand her struggle to make her life go on. She was torn between joining her loving husband, Wendell, who went before her, and a few more years with her four children and many grand and great grandchildren.
This means I am the only one left of the family of six. I will spend time with my one remaining sister-in-law. She is the mother of three and six of my nephews and nieces. My oldest brother and his wife went to rest in 2005 leaving me two generations of nephews and nieces. Juva and Wendell had four children who went on in two generations leaving me more family than I can count.
So my heart is heavy as I prepare to travel to Juva’s memorial. But I am also rejoicing that her struggles are over and I will have the opportunity to be reunited with a loving family that has grown from six to more than fifty. I confess I probably will have a problem knowing the blood kin from those brought into the family as in-laws.
Family has always been so important to me that all these sixty-one years living on Stinking Creek, it was very important to establish a family atmosphere with our many Lend-A-Hand children and years of volunteers.
So take time to appreciate and cherish each member of your family.