Coming from a large family (6 boys and 7 girls), I know that it is often the norm to have battles going with one sibling or another and to not see or talk to each other as often as we should. But to find that one who had chosen to distance himself from the rest of us has now passed away and we didn't know it...well, it has made for a sad weekend full of "what ifs."
While I know I could not change the mindset of my brother, who decided years ago he didn't want to communicate with the rest of us, it doesn't change the fact that, in my mind anyway, I could have worked harder to develop a relationship with him. Being the youngest of this large crowd, I must admit that I didn't even really "know" some of my older siblings as they were married and gone before I was born. But that doesn't change the fact that we are family and we should make the effort to see and/or speak to each other on a regular basis.
Are their family members or friends that you should get in touch with? Are you so busy that you put off what could be done today with an "I'll do it tomorrow" attitude? All too soon tomorrow doesn't come and it's too late. Make a point to pick up the phone and call your brother, call your sister, call that friend from college who has been on your mind.
Any differences of opinion can be worked out, or at least the effort can be made to do so. Regrets are difficult to live with when you have not made an effort to correct a wrong or to reach out to those who mean so much.
Take joy in the family members you have, learn about them, share with them. Gather together as often as possible so that it doesn't become the norm to say, "I'll do it tomorrow."
In taking my own advice, I am excited about a "friends and family" gathering I have been planning even before learning of my brother's death. At least now more of my siblings will travel to West Virginia as they, too, realize that all too soon there may not be another chance. Plan your own event this summer; you'll be glad you did!