I was almost not going to post this but after chatting about it with hubby and daughter I decided to go ahead. I think I will follow it by the story of my uncle who I did cut myself off from. Since I don’t want to be too hypocritical. But the following is about something that makes me sad quite often and at some point I hope the parties involved see the light.
Saturday evening at the hockey game we ran into some family members that we never see. It was nice to see them and yet since then I have been feeling quite sad. As we get older and that fateful day is closer than it was in the past this family division becomes so sad to me.
What can one do when family members are alienated? If two siblings have not spoken in an honest and open and friendly conversation in more than 30 years how will they feel when one or the other dies? I know if I were alienated from my brothers I would feel terrible. Since my dad died suddenly when he was 65 we have always made an effort to stay in touch and see each other. We certainly don’t agree on everything but nothing is more important than the relationship. If there is real opposition then there are topics we might never talk about. There are so many other things to talk about that ones religion or politics never have to enter the picture.
I have told my husband that if he dies before me we will have a private funeral just for my family who love him to pieces. I don’t see any point in people who wanted nothing to do with him while he was alive coming and crying over his passing. I want people there who will give my children support over the loss of a dad who loved them to pieces and gave so much of himself to them and how know that about him. His/our friends and my family would meet that criteria and his brother Charlie and his wife. Hubby and his brother spend time together and check in with each other. That is a relationship. He has wonderful relationships with my cousins who also like him and he is fond of them. I think we might have a memorial at the school house. We love the neighbors up there and we have been so lucky to have them as friends.
When I die if the time is right I have arranged to donate my body to science. I like the idea of a medical student learning about the human body working on my cadaver. I loved dissection when I took biology in college and a part of me always wanted to go into medicine but since I could not pass chemistry I figured no point in even trying. The family can have a memorial mass and then a year later they can attend a service the students put on and get my ashes. Then I am not sure where I want my ashes to go. Guess I have to work on that one. I also don’t want people who did not like me or want anything to do with me coming to my funeral. Is that foolish of me? I don’t want my family to have to deal with people like that so again my advice would be stay away.
This might be all mean spirited on my part. I guess not coming from a family where I have ever seen such alienation I just don’t get it. I focus on my mom’s family because they were so caring and loving towards each other. They saw that they stayed in touch and visited each other when they could. They role modeled for us this loving family. I remember seeing them sitting and giggling over things they did when young and when you look at the old photo albums they were all buds and had friends together and did so much together. I want my own children to model that behaviour for the next generation.
Families are all different I know but some times I hear things that I just don’t get. And maybe what I like in family most people won’t agree with. I have no idea because I only know what I know. If you have been reading the various diaries that I have been posting you can see how my mom’s family were all attached to each other. The 9 children of Daniel and Bridget all stayed in touch on a regular basis and the ones who lived near the original homestead saw each other often. Their children were friends and the next generation were welcome in their homes. My mom had no first cousins but she knew and hung out with her second cousins and she was friends with several of them throughout her life. That is family to me. Not just people that you grew up with but have nothing to do with throughout adulthood and that the first cousins don’t even know each other. That is so strange to me.
Nothing makes me happier than being at family reunions and watching my grandgirls playing with their second cousins and developing those relationships that may last a life time. And in the summer I love to watch the children on the beach playing together. They are third cousins, the grandchildren of my first cousins. Sometimes I think my heart will explode with joy. And many of those little kids know me and when I die hopefully they will remember the crazy lady. Or the one who sat and chatted with them and asked about their school and their travels and their friends. That means something to me.