"See how time makes all grief decay."
- Adelaide Proctor
This time last year I was in limbo between a crappy visit to my home state of Ohio and the death of my mother. I had commented in a blog posts that maybe one day I would write my feelings about all of this but maybe not. It's been a year and I think I'm finally ready. I'm ready to say "Good bye" to certain parts of my extended family that either floated away unceremoniously or came to a fiery end.
A few months after my mom died my grandmother, heartbroken - literally, died too. Death exposes vulnerability in the living and man oh man, sometimes there are some strong reactions. Facebook is a great forum for inappropriate and thoughtless criticisms, and email is a convenient format for impersonal rebuttal. The result was the severance of a relationship with a cousin. A few months later his mother, my aunt, passively refused to come not but a few miles down the road see me after I traveled across the country to be in Ohio. She's never met Ada and probably never will. Things are no better with my two other cousins on my moms side. One came to San Francisco a few months ago and didn't bother to even make contact.
I didn't see this coming. When I was 8 years old there was nothing you could have said that would lead me to believe that the safety net that I believed without question would always be there to catch me would absolutely vanish into thin air. Gone are the days of masses of people crowded around the table at Thanksgiving or passing out in front of a football game on Christmas day or taking turns kneading the babka for Easter. This big, close family I grew up with who were always just around has disintegrated.
All I have left is an aunt on my mom's side and my a cousin on my dad's side. I don't mean it to sound like they aren't enough, it's just a depressingly whittled down version of what I grew up with. (you're not in this head count, dad. You're kind of stuck with me whether you like it or not.)
I am mostly sad for Ada who will miss out on all the security and drama of an extended family. She will have Tim's family and they are rowdy and extended and have warmly welcomed me. It's just different for me, though. I can't tell her stories about the crazy things I did with these people when we were kids.
Some good has come of this. While I have craved familial stability since my parents split up I am even more determined than ever to create it within my own little nucleus of a family. I am hell-bent on growing our family to include at least one more baby. Tradition and connectedness are always driving forces behind the decisions I make for my daughter and my family. There are so many questions I would love to ask my mom but I'll never have those answers. That won't happen to my daughter. Leaving a trail for Ada in the form of letters, picture books and this blog are something I'm dedicated to. She will have piles of evidence to prove my devotion and love for her in case I'm not around to do it in person.
Even with these ideals more finely honed, what a disappointment that my established family fell apart when people started dying. We are also failing at growing our own family (pretty sure this cycle is a bust). My failed family.
Edit to add: seems to be a lot of confusion so I guess I wasn't clear. I do not think that my family in its present form is a failure. Rather, our attempts at adding another baby are failing. It is confirmed - this medicated cycle was not successful.
What about you? Do you have a family? Does your family make you crazy? Do you miss them? Lay on me...they'll never read this.
Pourin' it out with Shell today.