You are assigned your family, you choose your friends

At times of difficulty and loss, families close ranks, they circle the wagons and protect. At least my family does, gladly. Those long elastic familial threads that stretch across thousands of miles and years of separation tighten and draw everyone closer. To support. And protect. To say “we are here, let us carry this pain for you, let us make you laugh, let us remind you of every amazing detail about life the pain is trying to blur”. There isn’t a single person here that wouldn’t drop everything and rush to be by each other’s side to help carry the pain if asked.

But when our family gets together, its guaranteed there’s going to be a huge agreement. When educators and artists marry other educators and artists and raise compassionate children, there’s nothing to argue about. We truly enjoy each other’s company and are not only relatives, but friends. I trust them completely and am proud of their accomplishments and successes.

I wrote the next couple sentences about Waldie the other afternoon and another uncle was kind enough to incorporate it into his conclusion at the service:

If the footprint of a man’s life is measured by the lives of the people he has loved and influenced, then Waldie’s footprint reaches from Aberdeen to Finland, from Interlochen to Tallahassee and around the world again and again. It spans a century of generations back and will stretch on into the future with no end in sight.

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