My grandmother died last month, which although it was expected was still upsetting. Upsetting less because she'll no longer be with us, which I've long known was always going to happen, and more because it made me think of all the other family connections that I've allowed to fall into disrepair.
This photo was taken by my mother's uncle Ron, and family consensus has it that it was taken either the day before or immediately after Kim and Glenys's wedding, which collective memory says was in Hamilton in 1972.
I'm wearing the blue shorts, my sister Anita is in the glorious cape. My parents to the left (on screen), the groovy Kim and Glenys in the middle, grandparents to the right of centre (only in the photo), and Philip in the natty suit on the right.
When I was young Kim was my hero, and still today I suspect we have a lot in common. We're very different in many ways, but I still look up to him, perhaps as one of the first adults I felt I could communicate with (and let's face it - that's never going to be a parent (he says, as a parent)). I also felt close to Glenys - they were both creative and were the grooviest people I knew. They separated years later (I was in my teens), and I haven't really kept up with either Kim and his partner Maggie or with Glenys. I regret that on both counts.
And then, in the last five years, my own life became more complicated than I would have chosen. Except that I did choose it, because choosing simplicity meant choosing what was easy rather than what was right. I still agonise about my choices, and I assume I always will.