Family reunions are very important. They always have been. Yet in these times of the Pandemic, they have become more important than ever. It was great for my husband and myself to travel to London at the end of October and to see my sons, Adam and Luke and their partners, Kelsey and Mafalda (my husband, Angus is the one taking the photograph). It was only for a day but so worthwhile.
Reunions are also a great theme in literature. There is the reunion of the girls in ‘Little Women’ by Louisa M Alcott, when their father returns from the American civil war. Or there is the reunion of Jane with a blind Mr Rochester, after the fire which nearly kills him, in ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte. Or even the final reunion of Juliet with farmer, Dawsey Adams in the book, ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows, when Juliet returns to the island realising it is Dawsey she loves and not her elegant, rich American fiancé.
In my book, Waireka, I have written about a reunion that doesn’t take place. Eliza is desperate to be reunited with her beloved sister, Kitty, who she has corresponded with over the past fifteen years since she left Scotland. However, her joy turns to despair as Eliza learns from a fellow passenger of their fate.
“Aurora, aye, that was the name of our boat. And now you mention it, I do recall a couple with two very young children and an older girl. The Scottish lady was fair, much like yourself and her husband had brown wavy hair….
“Was?” said Eliza, swallowing hard.
“Aye, I last saw them before the ship went down.”
(Waireka, pg 180)
How important it is to value those family relationships while we still have them. In these fragile days especially.
You are so right, Sheila, about those family reunions. We must treasure each one. Yet we seem to be hard-wired to imagine this “will last forever”. We never think of a time when this may be taken away from us. When I read that bit of your book, about the loss of Kitty and her family, I was really upset. I found myself thinking, ‘Why did she do that to her heroine, who suffered so much?’ But I think that shows how much you engaged me in your story, and how invested I was in your main protagonist’s happiness.
Thanks, Sheila. Hopefully these times we are in won’t last forever. I’m praying hard that God will deal with what I see as a spiritual as well as a medical problem. Yes, family reunions do help us going though.
I’m sorry about Kitty but it just seemed a complication to keep her alive when the Robert and Eliza relationship was ongoing, but yes, I hated having to kill the family off too!
Yes, I remember that part! I must have been heartbreaking, and looking at history books, it happened quite often. We’re so blessed!
Getting to see our oldest, Adam, and his partner, Mafalda, tonight again as we queue for our free tickets to ‘Have I got news for you?’. Double blessing, twice in one week!