A FAMILY AFFAIR

So this past week was another rough one. There were no sudden bursts of wanting to run into seclusion, but rather a chain of unfortunate events leading to loss. The two most prominent weren’t necessarily directly linked, but associated in the background.

One irreversible, another salvageable (or at least I tell myself); both healthy, in terms of allowing growth if handled correctly. If being honest, I can’t say if I will handle either in the best way, but I plan to try.


A Death in the Family

Last week my family buried my uncle at Fort Snelling. His passing was sudden, and just months after his father (mother’s side) passed. The cause is still being checked into, and I hear it could take weeks. I guess I watch one too many police procedural shows, because I thought it would be a matter of days, if that.

I wasn’t extremely close to either my uncle or grandfather. Both seemed to keep to their own lives, much as I do myself. They both would attend all our family functions, though. I can only attempt to imagine the pain my mother must be feeling. I feel like I fail in comforting her. It was even worse attempting to comfort my uncle’s daughters. I felt completely incompetent. I was unable to find any words, but I don’t believe there are always words for something like that. Sometimes words can’t express enough.

When I was first contacted, and still unaware of what had happened, I had multiple scenarios flash through my mind. I knew the news was bad, terrible even, and so I thought of my brothers. Mainly the youngest and the next oldest after myself. I guess I feel they would be the ones to find themselves in some sort of predicament.

Hearing my mother’s voice told me things were much more dire than anticipating. Instantly, I thought of a death in the family. This still secured these two brothers in my mind, but it shifted more to the next oldest. He is a stupid driver, and way out of reach now after having moved.

To fuel it, while my mother attempted to compose herself she said “Che...” and then had to take another moment. I then thought this meant that something had, indeed, befallen my brother. Finding out it was my uncle, I think she possibly thought, for a moment, she was on the phone with my brother; she had been attempting to contact him, along with the rest of the family.

So last week was the funeral. Once again, I was face to face with relatives I had just seen after my grandfather’s passing, but before that I hadn’t seen in years; some since being too young to even remember them. The same pleasantries were exchanged: the desire to stop meeting under such circumstances, and resolutions to become closer to one another. I believe the same was said at my grandfather’s funeral. It may be “standard issue” among many families in such an event.

I’d like it to be true, to come true. That these aren’t just pleasantries. I think people in general get too distracted with life and themselves that they don’t keep in touch with others. Whether friends, family, lovers; life happens. I’ve always been one of the belief that there’s always time. Even if just for a quick call. With the world being as connected as it is now, I have little room for excuses.

Sadly, I fall into the category of not specifically doing so with those I know. I don’t believe I make excuses, though. I understand that I have had multiple opportunities to do so, but haven’t. It isn’t hard really. Make a call, send an email, a text. I feel worse on my end, because I don’t have near as busy a life as many others I know. I have no excuses, and I try not to pretend I do.

For a brief moment, after the death of someone close, people seem to remember there are others connected to them.  A blip of connectedness. Their lives slow down, they have time to think and look around. That innate desire in everyone, in humans, to be close to one another kicks in.

In their heart of hearts, they want things to change. They want to be closer to those they have drifted away from. The hope of that is generally short lived. Soon life resumes and back into the vortex they are sucked.

So will this time be different? In most cases, there are a small percentage of individuals positively affected by such a traumatic event. Individuals that dedicate and convict to such changes they want to see happen in their life. It’s wonderful, yet a shame specific circumstances had to unfold to spark that change. It seems a path most of us are doomed to repeat over and over again.

I think, and hope, my cousins are among a few who will undergo this transformation. Both showed how strong they were in the wake of their father’s death. I was extremely proud of them. I learned the oldest (possible they both do?) has a beautiful voice that I hope she continues to use to express herself, whether through music or some other manner.

My heart and love goes out to them and to everyone affected by this tragedy.

On my end, I hope to let go of some guilt. Some associated with my grandfather, and some with my uncle. Pointless hangups. Perhaps I will finally make the change and be more in touch with others outside my immediate family.

If I don’t, I don’t really have an excuse.