The defining moment of my week in the UK was a funeral on Friday. My uncle – my father’s brother. I knew it was a long time since I last saw my uncle, but I also knew I wanted to be there. I wanted to be there for my aunty, my cousins, my father, my brother, my sisters and also for myself.
I was very glad I went. The service was as inspiring as it was moving; as full of joy as it was full of sadness. Celebrating and remembering a long life, very well lived and very well loved.
I stayed at my sister’s house on Thursday. I drove directly from our site in the afternoon. I knew the traffic could be bad and I didn’t want to risk being late on Friday. My elder sister and younger brother chose to do the same thing…for the same reason. We all stayed at my sister’s. We realised it was the first time in thirty years we had all slept in the same house.
We have all stayed at the same hotel. Or large cohorts of our own families have stayed in the same house. But all four children in the same house for one night – not for thirty years. And yet there we were – for a funeral and for each other.
My own children weren’t able to come…but they were able to watch Thursday evening play out, courtesy of modern technology – social media can be both a great benefit and…well…not.
Thursday evening was memorable. A very late night and what felt like a very early morning. Lots of stories, laughter and tears as we remembered and reminisced together. Thirty years is a long time…with a lot of moments and memories. We were all there…and were all there together.
I don’t often look back to reminisce. I have my moments in the past – of course I do – I’m sure we all do. But if I do look back, I try to look back to learn and I tell stories of people, situations and events all the time.
On Saturday my wife and I chose to visit our old University town. It poured with rain. We visited all the locations where we lived, learned, met and fell in love. Some places looked the same. Most looked worse than we remembered. A couple we could not believe. One even looked better.
It felt appropriate this weekend. It was thirty years ago my wife and I left university…we arrived alone but we left together. We had most fun remembering and telling each other stories about people and situations and events…
I sent messages during the day to my sisters and brother. And to my cousins. It was a special couple of days.
My wife and I called our children in the evening. They had seen the pictures from our trip down ‘memory lane’. We recounted a little and we all laughed a lot. But as ever we spoke more about what we were doing today and all our plans for next week. Friends and work. Essays and events. Travel and meetings.
And this makes sense. I always try to be present. Here today. With the people I am here with, and with them as we are today.
Yes, I celebrate and recognise…and I absolutely appreciate who we are, where we have come from and what we have achieved together to be here. But we are here today and we can influence and impact what happens next. What we chose to do. Why we chose those things. And who we chose to do them with.
Today is our day and tomorrow is our future.