Family Matters

The idea of family is one that should never be pushed aside or taken for granted.

Anthony Durzo, News Editor

While the 90’s sitcom was both iconic and humorous, this is not a review of ABC’s Family Matters. However, in my world, family is one of the most important things that I feel should be on anyone’s agenda.  

Now, when I say “family,” what most commonly comes to mind is immediate family. Certainly, parents and siblings will always play a huge role in a person’s life; everyone knows that. However, I would like to touch upon the people who you may not see every day. 

I can remember my earliest days being held in the arms of my grandparents, establishing an early and strong connection to them. To this day, I treasure my relationship with them. A helpful way of fulfilling this relationship is taking time out of your day to visit them.

Sometimes, it can be hard to understand that maybe a quick visit or even a phone call makes a grandparent feel so exhilarated to hear from their beloved grandchildren. Having that love being directed towards one’s self can be taken for granted at times. 

On many occasions when touching upon the subject of family, I often hear kids say, “I only see my grandparents like once a month,” without a tone of remorse or sadness within their voices. I can’t help but give a questioning response to what I just heard–not to make them feel guilty, but just to understand their viewpoint on the subject of family. 

I, on the other hand, devised a goal to visit my grandparents at least once every two weeks. These visits do not include sitting in awkward silence. 

From my experiences, I have learned that they always love to hear about the day in the life of a teen in the modern world. I like to tell them what occurs within the walls of my high school as they love to hear my stories. When the story concludes, we then enjoy a competitive yet friendly game of cards. 

I am always driven to hear their stories, turning to the topic of our family’s history. I am fascinated to hear the growth within my family members as I compare them to the stories of the past to how I see them today. Grandparents have so much knowledge and wisdom to offer that I feel everyone should be willing to take in. 

Of course, there are other people within a family that should be taken into consideration other than grandparents. I have so many aunts and uncles that I love making memories with. They are the adults that always understand you, but then also have the ability to put forth responsibility into your mind.

I’ve had my share of family members that I watched go from being perfectly healthy to lying lifelessly in a casket as I say my final goodbyes. Some have been expected deaths, while others left me shocked. It’s safe to say that it is the most troubling pain I have ever endured. ”

I have aunts and uncles that are like my second parents. They are always willing to lend a helping hand when the struggles that come with adolescent years rise to the surface.

And then there are the cousins. Because I am one of the younger cousins in my extended family, you can imagine the thrilling experiences I have encountered with my older cousins. They have the ability to offer escapades like nobody else can, and I am always prepared to join in.  

One of those escapades entail walking around the streets of downtown Pittsburgh or doing doughnuts in my cousin’s truck on a lonely dirt road in the rural area of Pennsylvania. These memories are ones that I am lucky enough to have and will have forever.

One of the greatest joys I get is knowing that, in the near future, I will be reunited with someone from my family that I have a strong bond with. However, this joy doesn’t come around often for teenagers.

I, like any other average teenager, know just how hard it can be to incorporate family visits into a hectic schedule that mostly consists of school, work, and sports. 

Therefore, in no way am I implying that every free moment should be spent with family. As teenagers grow into adulthood, it is also key to meet new people outside the family and build strong relationships with them as well. There should always be some sort of a balance between family and friends.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends. However, in my book, family comes first. This state of mind perhaps could be a result of losing a few people within my strong-bonded family. 

I’ve had my share of family members that I watched go from being perfectly healthy to lying lifelessly in a casket as I say my final goodbyes. Some have been expected deaths, while others left me shocked. It’s safe to say that it is the most troubling pain I have ever endured. 

But, once the grieving concludes, I still have and will always have the memories. I always find myself looking through old pictures of me along with someone close to me that has passed away. Of course, while going down memory lane, tears will always be shed, but along with watery eyes, laughter will resound and gratefulness will enter my mind. 

For example, I am so thankful that I had the wonderful opportunity every weekend of my pre-teen years to spend with my great-grandparents.

Of course while going down memory lane, tears will always be shed but along with watery eyes, laughter will resound and gratefulness will enter my mind. ”

Yes, I have had the blessing to know my great-grandparents for so many years, and my great-grandmother still lives today at the age of 91. While that may sound old, upon doing the math you will find that when I was born 17 years ago, she and my great-grandfather were 74 years old.

My great-grandfather passed away on Wednesday, June 29th, 2016. I was at the tender age of 12 and it was the first death in my life that led to an emotional breakdown . The man whom I saw more than once in a two-week span was no longer sitting on his couch next to his wife of 60 years. It took me a long time to accept that he just wasn’t there anymore. 

Since his death, I have looked at the importance of family in a whole different way. I appreciate the little moments with them in order to establish the bond that I carry forever in my soul even when their soul is gone. 

They always say “You can’t pick your family.” But I always say, “Get to know your family because they will always be there for you.”

Even when they are not there physically, you will be at ease to know that they will always be in your heart.