Vail Daily column: It’s what family does |

Vail Daily column: It’s what family does

With the financial markets down 300 points one day and up 300 the next, potential presidential candidates turning left one day and right the next, religious terrorists murdering indiscriminately every friggin’ day and the Cowboys and Broncos both ending the season on extremely sour notes, ‘family’ once again drove the point home about who and what we can truly depend upon in life.

Yes, it’s corny, but hear me out (or read me out, whatever, you know what I mean).

My family of five attended my mom’s funeral back in November, and though it was tough to manage everyone’s schedules, we depended upon each other to make it work for all the right reasons.

It’s what family does.

Collecting a few weeks later for the holidays as planned, the not-so-planned stuff then stole the show.

What began as a normal Christmas Day ended late that night in a Denver hospital, as my 86-year-old mother-in-law had a severe heart attack at her house in Eagle-Vail that afternoon.

First, she was saved by the thingy around her neck (highly recommended) that she pushed to alert 911, then she was saved by the EMT’s from Vail Valley Medical, then she was saved again at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood, then saved by the MedJet that flew her from Eagle to Denver and then, finally, saved one more time by the staff at Swedish in Denver.

She obviously needed a lot of saving.

My wife has now been attempting to save her sanity while helping her mom recover down in Florida for at least a month or so, maybe longer, but hey, it’s what family does.

Ten days later, I flew to Texas for over a week to help my brother move our 86-year-old dad into a home from his house of 33 years. He had announced, “Boys, I can’t do this on my own,” and then sold his house and found a Senior Living facility he was comfortable with, all within a few weeks after the funeral.

“Good move, Dad,” we both said, desperately trying to figure out how we could make it all work in a very short time.

Ten days of clearing out junk, saving some junk, crying over memories certain junk ignited and helping my dad cope with the lifetime of memories in the junk he was leaving behind.

Although ‘junk’ is a facetious term, it was just as much fun as it sounds, but again, it’s what family does.

This left our 15-year-old ski racer without a mom or dad at home, but luckily we have his 27-year-old brother and his fiance (they became engaged Christmas night, but that’s another story) who could leave their own home in Edwards to come stay at ours during our absence.

Meanwhile the 24-year-old son, a senior at CSU, was calling every day to apologize for not being able to help directly, but he was calling either way, as it’s what family does.

We were together as a complete family for the funeral and then Christmas morning, but I’ve now seen my wife only twice since that afternoon, and it will probably take another funeral (or perhaps, a marriage) for all five of us to finally get back together anytime soon.

So although we can never depend on the financial markets, politicians, being safe from terrorists or even football teams to be there for us when needed most, we can always depend on moms, dads, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, cousins and in-laws during the toughest of times.

It’s what family does.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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