This week we lost Uncle Roger. He was a wonderful man. Kind, loving, great sense of humor, generous of spirit. The timing of his passing felt like it came out of nowhere, and it made me really miss my family.
Roger Cannon was the husband of Aunty Carol, my mum’s younger sister. Mum often called me “Carol…I mean Catherine” (along with calling me “Anthony..Ruth..Catherine” – it is so fun being the youngest of three!) I really got to know the Cannon clan and the rest of my extended family the best after we moved back to Tasmania when I was around 10. From the time I was around 5 to age 10 my family had travelled a lot for missionary work with YWAM and lived in many different locations, so when we moved back home to Tassie there was a whole bunch of people for me to get to know, both on my mum’s side (Phillips) and my dad’s side (Langlois).
My memory is not so great, but to me it feels like I spent a lot of time with my extended family. They were a big part of my life, my friendship group. We were all fairly similar ages so it was like having all these additional siblings. So Great!
I first came to the states in 1997. I was 18. It was just a year or so after my sister had her first born, my niece Jessica. I remember lying in bed thinking about Jess, my family, my extended family and all my friends in Tassie. I was watching a slideshow in my head of all these wonderful faces. And even though at that point my future was very unclear, I somehow knew that staying in the US was on the cards for me, and I would no longer be geographically close to all these people. It was a brutal reality that I knew was the right choice. I felt extremely lonely and far away in that moment.
It is a strange thing to continually decide to be so far away from people you so fiercely love. It struck me this week just how incredibly wonderful all these people are. I was blessed with an amazing family, on both sides. Thanks to Facebook I get to see their lives, see the new generation coming into the world and growing up. It makes you feel closer but also highlights how you just aren’t there.
All I can tell you is that while I miss them, and love them, I also know I am right where I should be, doing what I should be doing. Life is complicated, every decision comes with sacrifice. We all make them, in different ways. We just need to make sure we do our best, make our loved ones proud, make it all worthwhile.