Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Treasured Family (blood & extended)

Recently, several friends have lost family members. Almost all of them talk about the pain of watching their loved ones as they fade away. It, along with my work on genealogy, has made me evaluate the ties to my family.

For those that really know me, I have lots of friends I consider my extended family. As for actual blood relatives, I can count each of them on both hands (and maybe one foot, my sister has 6 kids, that takes up one hand already). Then there is my one and only sister who is 22 months older than me. Other family members I talk with regularly are my mom's only living sister, Judy & her husband Bob, there son Tommy and another cousin in Pensacola (Mika). Those are just the family members on my moms side of the family. My dads side of the family is very different. They do not regularly speak with me, and as far as I can tell, they NEVER speak with my sister (Kay). Now I can tell you that my dads side of the family considers Kay and I to be sinners, but apparently they feel that my sister is more of a sinner than I, which is really confusing, considering Kay just had children out of wedlock, while I am gay. I think Kay told me one time that she had given up trying to be nice to dads family, while I kind of force my way in during most major holidays and birthdays. They have also apparently shunned two of my cousins (Robbie & Eric), which I would be happy to see or speak to someday.

Anyway. as the song say's, time keeps on slipping away. and I cry deeply for those that have lost loved ones, especially due to debilitating illnesses or just the passage of time. Even the loss of a young child is hard to grasp and deal with, and I guess that is why we have emotions.

I count myself as one of the lucky ones. When my mother passed back in August of 1999, it was totally unexpected. She had an unknown brain aneurysm that just popped, and while she remained conscience for a very short while, she was gone within minutes. There was no apparent suffering or warning, she was just gone. I can not imagine what it has been like for those that have had to watch their parents deteriorate into mere nothingness and pass on. I know the pain I felt when it happened suddenly, but to watch it happening and knowing there is nothing that can be done has to be excruciating.

My dad was another story. He and I hardly spoke for a long time, but towards the end, we had started talking more regular. He had been in and out of the hospital due to complications with his knee and hip surgery. He was in the hospital due to a nasty infection that had developed within his new hip. So they removed his hip and packed it full of antibiotics. Unfortunately, that was not enough and one evening he went into cardiac arrest and was unable to be saved. That was January of 2000, five months after my mom had passed.

We just passed the 11th anniversary of my fathers passing and are coming up on the 12th anniversary of my moms

To my friends that have lost family members recently, you never truly get over the loss, but it does get better. Certain holidays are still very difficult for me to handle, such as mothers and fathers day, birthdays, and special occasions. I do know in my heart, that they are with me always, as a part of me. What they have taught me, I have gained from their knowledge. I use their knowledge to pass on the information to others, so that the memory stays alive.

For know, all I can say is I am here if you ever need someone to talk to, cause I know what you are going through.

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