Week 28: ‘Connect’ 

 Jacob, I’m connected with you, no matter where you are. This I have to tell myself as I gather around the ones I love on special occasions like a bon-voyage for safe travels, a birthday or an anniversary. At this occasion we weren’t the noisiest of patrons at the Italian Restaurant near our house. Our voices bellowed out joining in the laughter, chat and banter as a constant battle to be heard. My 80 year old dad joined us for this family gathering taking his faithful crossword out of the newspaper to distract his mind away from the noise as he can’t handle all the high pitched noises now as his hearing is fading. He sat up the end of the table with my nieces Isla & Aerin (his grand-daughters) as they were that little bit quieter than the young males at the other end of the table. My mum gave those boys a run for their money when she compared notes on exercises they do at the gym. Paul (my sister’s 23 yr old boy) was leaving the family home too, having just accepted a contract to play rugby union in Wales for 2 years so this night was included as a safe travels for him too, and his brother Mark (25yrs) is already making his plans to join him too but in a different sport – rugby league. My husband Pete joined us on this night too and I’m sure his love of pizza had a lot to do with accepting the invitation. My sister Trish and her husband Richard shared their stories of travels when they were young, before their boys were born. Ben’s feet will be walking on some of the roads we’ve already travelled on in our own discovery of the world. 

We were connecting on this night to say cheerio and safe travels for my 24 year old son the blonde boy Ben to begin his Europe exploration for the next 6 weeks. Although the table was long and filled with beautiful humans from my life, there were vacant and empty seats amongst the celebrations. My eldest daughter Amy 28yrs had another prior engagement with some university friends so she sent her apologies to attend the night. Rachel 25yrs my second daughter left our family home on Christmas Day on a wonderful trip of a lifetime to travel to the UK and work her way around with her boyfriend Adam, so her saved seat sat empty too. My children’s cousins from my sister Trish – Luke (20) and James (25) had double booked on the evenings event so we missed their company too. My brother Stephen (dad of my young nieces) was absent too as he was enjoying his mates 50th birthday on a surfing holiday at the Maldives and had left his girls for a few days with my mum and dad. Jacob has been missed and his chair has been empty since the 7th October 2015, but just like the rest of our missing family members on this special night to wish Ben well in his travels, he is always with us. His chair may be empty but his presence fills the empty space in our hearts in everything we do. 
This photo is a bit blurry but I don’t mind it helps to read into the chaos and noise of this night. We will continue to enjoy and makes the most out of these connections we have with the ones just like the one on this occasion. As the years change and life continues to flow on we might find it harder to all be together in one place at a time but the ones that are missing are never really far away. Their names will be spoken in conversations and stories will be told just how it should be so cherish your human connections: your relationships with friends and family. 

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