Today's time with my family in Oregon took a little different turn as we came here for a memorial service.
My dad grew up in Wisconsin, with many aunts, uncles and cousins around him. He and his family moved out to Eugene, Oregon during his early junior high years, and soon one of his aunts and uncles, along with their six kids, moved nearby to Springfield. This began many years of close relationships between those two families.
Sadly, and very unexpectedly, one of those cousins passed away last month.
Today was a memorial service for my dad's cousin, Bill, and his wife Marilyn, who passed away a few years ago. Their two children decided to hold a service to honor both of their parents, since we all knew them as "Bill-and-Marilyn", never as two separate people.
They planned an absolutely beautiful service for their parents, so honoring to them and to the Lord. I've never been to such an uplifting service, with their parents' stories shared in such love and joy. It was a gift to be there with them on this day, honoring these two wonderful people.
Even though our dads were cousins, and as their children we are technically second cousins, we never thought of ourselves as anything other than "cousins". It was so profoundly delightful to reconnect again after many years of not seeing each other.
Other family members were there too, including my first cousin, David. He once made a trip out to Spain and Germany to see me when I was first a missionary there over thirty years ago!
His mom, my Aunt Janet, who is my dad's sister, was there as well. Nice to see these two siblings together!
And then there was my dad's cousin, Johnny. Oh the stories they have from their boyhood!
While the occasion was sad on one hand, I think it was exactly what Bill and Marilyn would have loved: seeing the family come together once again.
They loved their family so much, giving much time, energy and love to all of them. I think their service left us all feeling closer to each other, and thankful for every time that we get to be together, which is exactly what they would've wanted to happen.
I love you Dad, Mom and Mike!! And cherish every time we get be together!