My parents and grandparents have left shoes that cannot be filled. The loss is too great for one person to conceal, it will take all of their children to cover it.
My oldest brother Rickey gave each of his sisters a bracelet and told us that our mother was getting too old. He wanted one of us to keep her traditions alive, he wanted one of us to keep our family together. Rickey and my mother both are gone and unfortunately neither of his sisters were able to keep our family connected as we once were. I have two sisters and one brother left, we were once three girls and three boys. We were once a mother, father and six kids.
I wonder sometimes how disappointed and sad my parents would feel if they saw their children now.
What has happened to my family is not uncommon. Once that person or persons that held the family together passes, family unity dies with them.
If you are the elder in your family keep trying to be as good as the one before you. If the one before you dropped the mantel, pick it up for the generation that needs someone to create family traditions.
We must tell our unique family history to the children so that they will know the people that made them possible. They will know that they too can overcome anything that is placed in their way.
When they hear about the grandmother that wrote books, or the great-grandfather that left his southern hometown and migrated to Los Angeles for a freedom that was not available to him back home. They will know that they too can dream, and create a world that they want to live in. They will also learn how important family is for our survival, individually and collectively.