The topic of 'life lessons' is timely, although painful for me to experience and write about.
Life is a finite thing. We are not guaranteed our next breath, our next day, our next family event. In a moment a person can be gone. It doesn't matter if communication and conversations were a common life even because the idea of the person not existing any more can send you (me) for a tail spin, regardless.
My grandmother passed away last friday and we didn't have a good relationship, if you could call what we had a relationship at all. But, she was a holder of information about my dad that I'll never know, there will no longer be promise of hugs, and the possibility of love and understanding. The whole side of my family that encompasses my grandmother as the matriarch never talks with us and the memorial service will, likely, be the only time I will see so much of this side of my family in one place.
The second life lesson is to seek closure. Don't leave lose ends thinking there'll be time to go back to the hard stuff later. One of the most important reasons I am going back to Texas for the memorial service is to find closure for all the ways this family was not, and will never be, what I need and deserve. I will not approach them because I know this isn't what I need. But being able to let go of that childhood fantasy will help me grasp more fully the family that I've created and do have.