This has been a sad year for my family. With the passing of one of my brothers I'm grateful for my family realtionships, especially having created better relationships with my brother's children this year. We can't pick our family members, but we can make every effort to be a good friend and cherish the family that we are born into. Whether those are blood relatives or not, being grateful for family gives us stronger bonds with those we love.
My brother was a kind soul who helped anyone without hesitation. At Stuart's service, a young boy about 12 offered to speak. Since I don't live in Kansas (since '91) and haven't gotten to know his neighbors, this boy was a mystery to me. I can't remember the boy's name, but I'll never forget what he said at the memorial for my brother.
The boy spoke of how he had "borrowed" a fishing lure from Stuart's tackle box. I'm not sure how he happened upon the tackle box, but when Stuart found out he wasn't angry. Stuart offered to show him how to tie a fishing knot and helped the boy. This neighbor boy told the story of how Stuart had offered advice and helped him. This was Stuart. He was a philosophical type of person who always had a story to tell. He made a lasting impression on that boy who will probably never forget my brother.
Since Stuart's passing, I've extended and made the effort to get to know Stuart's children and their families better. Stuart and I haven't lived in the same state since '91 so his kids don't necessarily know mine.
My daughters have also made an effort to extend their friendship to Stuart's daughter and sons. While attending their grandfather's birthday party in Kansas, they made a special effort to visit my niece and nephew and family members that they typically hadn't visited. My daughters haven't lived in Kansas since they were very young and the relationship with their cousins is self created at this point.
Seeing pictures of them all together brought tears of which I'm very grateful. Knowing that they made that effort in honor of my brother is something very special of which I cherish. Although it was very sad to lose my brother, I'm very grateful for the family bonds that have been created in his honor.
The featured image was taken while driving in 54 Highway to Wichita about three years ago.