One of the drawbacks of having family in two different parts of the country is that you can't be with those who don't live near you very often, if ever.
I have been blessed to have two sisters who love me enough to have traveled to visit multiple times over the last decade. However I have only been "up north" to visit them and the rest of my family (my aunt, my cousins and their families) a few times. The last time was back in 2010.
Living so far away, obviously, I can't be of part family events. One of those events I really regret missing is their annual picnic/reunion, which is usually held at Penn Pump Park in Easton. Each year when I hear or read about it I really miss being part of it. Just hanging out and catching up with family is something I've always enjoyed. The family reunion is a very happy time.
But the benefits of being a family isn't always reserved just for the "happy times." Sometimes there are very sad times when family is even more important. Over this weekend I heard the news that my Aunt Eileen's family is going through one of those sad times.
My cousin, Roger, posted on Facebook this past Saturday that his son, Roger Jr. had passed away. What a devastating tragedy. He was only 30 years old.
It is not my place to give the details about the loss but they really don't matter. Here is a link to his obituary. Roger Seguine Jr.
I didn't know Roger Jr. as the man he was. The last time I remember seeing him was during a trip back to Pennsylvania 14 years ago to attend his dad's wedding. But from the comments and expressions of sympathy I've read on Facebook, he was a man of character and courage.
Roger was an true American hero because of his service in the US military. He served in a war zone for 2 years. He was also a husband and father. I have never met his wife and children but I have seen them in pictures of both Roger Sr's Facebook page. They are a precious and beautiful family.
I cannot imagine the anguish that my cousin, Roger Sr. and his family are going through but I can empathize with them. My son, James also served in the military and spent time in the middle east. It would be among my worst nightmares to lose him at such an young age. I can't help but think to myself, there but for the grace of God go that could be me.
It breaks my heart that family members whom I love and care for are hurting from such a sudden tragic loss and I am not able to be there to support them.
So I would like to take this post as an opportunity to extend my condolences to Roger Sr. and his family. No parent should have to go through what you are. I know your hearts are broken and it all seems like a bad dream. I wish I could be there to stand by you in your time of loss. But please know that you are in my prayers. I pray that God will extend to you all the comfort you need to get through these darkest of days.