Family — one of God’s greatest gifts — and how we loved them

Feb. 17, 2013 @ 06:54 AM

People who know me know how much I love and appreciate my family. I consider family one of God’s greatest gifts to us. Through all my years one thing I’ve learned, no one has a perfect family but how we do love each other and when one is gone, the void is tough.  And then some of my family do not have the same blood flowing through their veins, they are my friends. 

Last week my maternal family laid to rest my Uncle Larry Crawford, the youngest brother of my mother. A year ago in December, our family laid to rest my Uncle Ray Crawford, mama’s oldest brother. And nearly four months ago, my sweet cousin, Brent Crawford, was laid to rest. Brent was three weeks shy of his 40th birthday. Larry turned 68 in October and Ray was 74 when he passed away in 2011.

It isn’t easy saying goodbye to someone you love and looked up to as a child, as was the case of my uncles.

Brent was physically and mentally handicapped but I looked up to him, too, because of his courage and the courage of his parents.

As a kid growing up, it’s hard now to imagine there were times Larry was our babysitter. He was just six years older than my sister and as we grew up, it seemed as though we were pretty much to same age.

Since Larry was close to my age, we enjoyed playing together.  He built a putt-putt golf course in the woods at my grandparent’s house and even built a wooden chariot pulled by their  horse, Mary. I never knew until last week that the chariot was among his pride and joys until my aunt got the chariot hooked to the horse and off they went, later crashing the chariot.

 Larry was a perfectionist and meticulous, probably more so than the other siblings.  

When Larry went to Wake Forest University after high school, I wrote him lots of letter. He usually answered them. He grew up and became a doctor — his childhood dream.

 From the hundreds who visited our family last Tuesday night and at the funeral on Wednesday, he was a loved man and a faithful doctor. 

Since Ray was older, he later became a second daddy to me, always concerned for my well-being and the well-beings of my immediate family. He was the one who checked on me on a regular basis after my parents died.

If the weather was bad and I was out in it, he’d remind me to drive safety and would tell me to get on down to the house.

These uncles were so special to me in so many ways. We didn’t always see eye to eye and I didn’t see Larry but a few times a year, but what a void in our family circle. I am fortunate though, to have seen Larry often during the last year of his life of his life as he sought a hard battle with cancer.

But I will not forget the fun times with Larry playing cowboys in the woods, putt-putt golf or being scolded as a child for breaking something he owned.  I will not forget his bravery in fighting cancer with all his strength and living each day with dignity and pride.

Our family members will not pass this way again but as the rest of us make our journey through life we will remember these who touched us so and wait for the day when families are reunited. 

The joys and the sometime craziness of family can’t be explained, but I know one thing, I treasure my family and always will.