I love my life. I love the traveling I do. I enjoy my job. And although I do miss most of my family (I am not a hypocrite, so I won't say I miss them all), I am happy. However, lately things have happened that make you realize that you sometimes need a hug from one of those people you left behind.
Not long ago, I lost a very caring and inspirational member of the family. She was not technically blood, but she was heart. And in a family, that is sometimes more important. She was like a grandmother to me, and even told her church that her "grand-daughter" was traveling in Turkey this summer and asked them to pray for me as well. When they asked about a grand-daughter in Turkey, she simply told them that "Johanna. She's my grand-daughter too!" I felt so much pride when I heard that. I felt an overwhelming sense of love and acceptance. I wanted to be there for my family. I wanted to give my aunt an enormous hug and tell her how much I love her and appreciated her mom all those years. But, I could only email my thoughts and I sent a plant. But a plant doesn't begin to show how much I loved or respected this beautiful woman. I didn't write about her right away, because I wanted and needed time. And, because some part of me wanted to believe that if I didn't acknowledge her death, it wasn't real. I wasn't there to see it. I could somehow manage to believe it was a dream. As we sometimes do in life- I wanted to pretend the bad stuff wasn't happening.
Then, this week, the bad continued. A friend from high school, one that I shared many letters of pen-pal writing with over a time, lost his little brother. I knew his brother as well, but not as closely. Unlike my grandma, who was just taken quietly while watching tv, my friend's baby brother was killed point blank. He was then cut into several pieces by a chain saw and dumped into the local creek. Now, how can you ignore the horrific tragedy of this? How can one not ache inside for the family - even if you don't know them? How can one not be impacted by this news? Well, I was. All I wanted to do was hug my friend. Hold him. Tell him how sorry I was for his loss. And yet, being here, all I could do was send an email again.
I know that heartache happens all over the world and to someone every day. I know that we can't always be there to show the ones we care for that we do care. We can only hope that they know we do. That we have shown our appreciation and love in the past. That they remember how we treated them when we were there. And that they remember those times is your only condolence.