Thirty years is a long time. Like…a long, long time. Yet, it somehow feels like yesterday when you are standing on the now side of thirty years.
Today was a very special day for my family. You see, on a hot July day in 1986 we lost a very huge part of our family to a senseless, violent crime.
Bobbie Crimm was my grandmother. My daddy’s mother. She was a fun-loving, outgoing, jewel of a woman who adored her family. When she was taken from us so violently no one was prepared. No one was ready. No one fully understood what kind of hole had just been ripped into the core of our family.
Over the past thirty years Bobbie’s family has changed drastically. There have been a whole lot of weddings (and divorces); babies born (and lost); hearts broken (and healed); and loved ones who have joined her on the other side.
Our family has endured many, many changes over the past thirty years. We were once a family who gathered regularly for holidays and special events. We took vacations together and filled restaurants to the gills. When you saw one of us…more than likely you were gonna see several of us at the same time. It was actually funny in high school because everyone knew the “Crimm Kids”…nobody could tell you who belonged to who, but it didn’t matter. They knew that the Crimm’s stuck together and that was all they needed to know.
As time has ticked away, our family has gradually shifted and separated. We don’t get to see each other regularly anymore. Most of the time we only cross paths if we are at a ball game, school event, grocery store, wedding, or funeral. Once every five years as many as possible travel to Montgomery to a Parole Hearing wearing our matching t-shirts and carrying her memory with us in our faces and our names. The shear number of people who attend those hearings each round says a lot about the heinous crime that the parolee committed.
When she died, there were certain things that we, as a family were not able to do for her…or ourselves. Today, we all came together to honor her in a way we couldn’t back then. It was special to be able to be in the Mountains (her favorite place on this earth), early in the morning, at the bottom of a waterfall with as many of the family members as possible.
Naturally, not everyone in her family was able to make the trip, but all five of her children, ten of her grandchildren, twenty-three of her great-grandchildren, her sister, one niece, and a whole slew of in-laws and friends were able to be there today. What a blessing!
I know that she would have been so happy to have everyone together. And, honestly…it made us all happy to be together as well. Like every family, we have our share of problems…however today we set those aside and just focused on the life that our loved one lived…and lost…thirty years ago.
I can only speak for myself, but I feel sure that everyone who attended the memorial today felt a common emotion: Love.
Together we as a family have endured it, given it, lost it, yearned for it, learned from it, and grown closer because of it. Family is a special gift that not all are given…I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to be a part of a big one.
As we go into this week of Thanksgiving, please seek out your loved ones. Families are made up of all kinds of things…not just blood. Hug your people close and spend as much time as possible with them, because you never know when they might turn into a memory. When memories are all you have, thirty years can feel like an eternity.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving Y’all…and always remember you are loved!