It has been my great blessing and privilege in life to have observed many wonderful relationships. Some have been between a husband and wife, some between parent and child and yet others between those who shared no family bond other than the one than connected them by love. However beyond a shadow of a doubt the sweetest and most enduring of all that I have ever known was that between my grandma Beulah and her older brother Clifford.
Uncle Cliff and grandma were born into humble means early in the twentieth century to parents who loved each other very much. It was a happy home filled with much laughter and joy. Grandma told me she didn't ever remember a time when she didn't loved Cliff and she looked to her older brother as if he himself hung the stars and the moon. Life was good. The children grew, went to school and the family celebrated all the wonderful milestones and holidays that families do. And then their mother got tuberculosis and eventually died. It was a loss that devastated everyone in the family, but it was particularly hard on my grandma who was only thirteen years old.
Thirteen is a very tender age in the life of a girl and starts the years in life when a girl is most in need of her mother's guidance and love. But with no one to run the household it was necessary for grandma to leave school and take on the responsibilities of caring for her dad and brother. Most girls of that age would have thought themselves terribly mistreated when told they would need to leave school and tend house, but not my grandma. It was a responsibility she eagerly and gladly took on knowing there was no one else who could care for the two men she loved more than anything in the world like she could. It was during these years Cliff and grandma became even closer than they had been. Their two young hearts had been broken in a way few could understand.
Eventually the family found a new normal and settled into life as they now knew it. Grandma ran the household, Cliff graduated from high school and went to work and eventually their dad re-married. And then they both married the true love of their lives. Shortly after grandma married they lost their father to pneumonia. They each went on to have three children filling their own homes with joy, love and laughter. And while together they saw many changes in life, the one constant was always their love and devotion to one another.
Everyone who knew grandma and Cliff adored them and it was obvious to all just how much they loved each other. Time had not weakened the bond between them, but rather the joys and laughter, the tears and heartache served to bring even greater strength and unity between them.
Every night until Cliff passed away he and grandma would talk on the phone around ten o'clock. They would talk about their day and just visit. Cliff never liked to say good-bye so each night before they hung up they would say "so long". And until the end grandma still thought her big brother hung the moon. While they have both long since passed they have left this world a much better place and all those whose lives they touched much better people. I pray you all have people in your life like Clifford and Beulah who give you faith in love and hope so you will not be afraid to spread your wings and fly.
Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.