“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; rejoice!” // Philippians 4:4
This past weekend, several of my aunts and uncles came together on the Virginia coast to celebrate my Aunt Deborah’s 60th birthday. Anytime we all get together, there is no shortage of laughter and craziness and although this trip had that, there was something different. We all felt it, I think, whether we shared it aloud or not.
Other than Christmas, this was the first time that we had come together since losing my grandmother and Aunt Shelia in September.
I almost didn’t even expect for it to affect me the way that it did. The last time I had been to Virginia was for my cousin’s wedding and my Aunt Shelia had driven us there. Nearly every road trip up there from my childhood was spent with either her or my Grandmother. The route from Durham to Hampton is paved with memories, laughter, and an unlimited supply of treasured moments.
From the moment I got into the car on Friday afternoon, their absences were felt. The majority of the drive up was spent with smiles on, laughing at all of the memories made with these two special women. I never even opened my book that I had brought to pass the time.
Throughout the weekend, we reminisced and celebrated, and it was truly what the doctor had ordered for me. There’s something about spending time with this sweet family of mine that can just restore me and fill my heart, in a way that has God written all over it. I am so grateful that he chose these people to be mine.
On Sunday, tired but full, Aunt Kay, my mom, and I stopped by my Grandmother’s old house to run an errand and see my Uncle who had been unable to make it to Virginia. As I walked through the now empty home, I found myself overcome with all of the stories and memories that those walls held. Just in my first 24 years of life, that house had held numerous Thanksgiving dinners, countless pots of Grandmommy’s soup (also known as Brunswick Stew), and who knows how many tree climbing adventures with my cousins. The house was also where my Grandmother had her stroke and where my Aunt Shelia took her last breath and entered the kingdom of Heaven, on a September morning at 2am.
We were discussing the house being on the market and what it may be end up selling for when I found these words spilling from my lips before I even registered it, God using that moment to speak this precious reminder. I said, “It’s too bad they don’t charge by the memories.”
To which my Uncle replied, “Well, if they did, no one would be able to afford this place.”
Oh, is that ever the truth!