July 21, 2021

When I was growing up, our family lived next to a family with three boys. My oldest sister Carol married the oldest brother Jack. My middle sister Jane married the middle brother Jim. Both marriages ended in divorce. I moved halfway across the state before the youngest brother, and I were of dating age. Ironically, I also married a boy next door by the name of Rod.

Carol remarried, and her husband Michael, died in 2017. Jack also remarried. Jack came to Michael’s Celebration of Life. After Carol moved into assisted living, Jack called and visited her a few times a year prior to COVID19.

Jane remained single, and focused on raising their three children. Jim remarried not long after. She and Jim remained connected through their children. Jane was often invited to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with their children.

All three brothers came to my sister Jane’s Celebration of Life. It was challenging to introduce the various family members and their relationships to the minister. I suppose it could have been very awkward, but instead there was something right about it, coming full circle and honoring Jane’s life and the family.

Jack asked if he could sit next to Carol at the luncheon, and it was sweet to see his attention to her as she struggles with advancing Alzheimer’s disease. He walked her to the car when the meal was over, and later told my niece that his biggest regret was not having children with Carol.

Jim told one of his children that the biggest regret he had was divorcing Jane. He said that his biggest mistakes and regrets were all caused by alcohol.

In the midst of grief and loss, even at that late hour, confession and redemption happened. I sensed the generous grace of God at work to heal and make whole. James 5:16 says, “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.” (The Message)

May the same grace of God make us whole ~ Anne

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