I just came back from my dad's cousin's husband's funeral (I know! A mouthful!)
I call my Dad's cousin 'Auntie R'. She has always impressed me by being a fierce, determined, loyal 'Dragon' lady. Some years back, my dad heard from another relative that Auntie R's husband had run away from financial problems and that Auntie R was struggling.
My dad being the warm, generous man that he is, offered her a job in our firm and really gave her the freedom to do whatever she liked whilst earning a salary enuff to support herself and her two children.
I remember Auntie R telling us that because of this, from the time my little cousin C was 12 years old, just finishing primary school, she went out to work to earn spending money. Imagine, such a little kid!
Over the years, we'd hear from Auntie R about her husband, whom she refused to divorce and still heard from once in awhile. Auntie R was the one who earned the money for the family, and I heard that her husband didn't have much contact with his kids.
My fierce little cousin proved to be a replica of her mom, and is very successful for such a pint-sized little girl in England.
Recently, Auntie R's husband had cancer. And she took care of him throughout his illness, which really boggled me. This was the man who had run out on her, leaving her destitute and struggling to survive.
Today, I attended the funeral. And I was amazed. My Auntie shared the good memories of when her husband had been there for her. My little cousin cried as she shared the memories of her dad's advice; his kindness and compassion.
I could not help remembering all the times when he had NOT been there for them... Not been a father or a husband to them.
It was a lesson in love and forgiveness that I'll not easily forget.