It was my cousin's funeral today. Jimmy was nearly eighty-one when he died and, though he lived in Taunton, he was a Mumbles boy at heart and wanted to have his funeral and be buried here.
Jimmy was actually my second cousin; he and my mum were first cousins but, as I've probably explained before, the age gap between my grandmother and her youngest sibling was so large that the generations get mixed up a lot.
My great-grandmother, she with the eight surviving children, lived with us when I was little. Or maybe I should say we lived with her as it was her home originally. So family gatherings happened in our home at regular intervals.
I suppose as a shy child I wasn't very impressed with this - mainly because I'd be sent around to kiss everyone - who had usually had a drink or two - goodnight but then, after my great-gran died, and the frequency of these gatherings slowed and finally stopped altogether, I realised how important they'd been.
Over the years I've almost lost touch with many of my cousins but Facebook has been a wonderful bringer-togetherer and we've been able to share news and commiserate or celebrate with each other, albeit virtually.
So today it was great to see, even under the sad circumstances, cousins gathering together to remember a lovely man. There seems to be a new family spirit. What was on the point of being lost is being restored. Maybe as we get older we recall the 'good old days' or maybe, as the number of the older generation gets fewer, we just need to feel part of something bigger.
So today I'm thankful for extended families.