Yesterday, my eldest daughter, Carly, and I traveled to Pennsylvania to attend the funeral of my aunt. I wavered on making a decision to go or not, but when Carly called and said we could go together, I knew it was the right thing to do.
We drove through the most ridiculous weather…first it was lightening….quite impressive from afar, but I certainly would not like to be too close! Then, the rain came in like gangbusters. For a few seconds, we could barely see anything. As we gained altitude, we were greeted by a shroud of fog. In some areas, the fog was thick enough to cut it. Finally, however, we were able to reach our destination despite the natural obstacles!
We missed most of the service, but we were able to hear some of my cousin’s tribute to his mom. It was so strange seeing my cousin, as I think the last time I had seen him must have been over 15 years ago.
After the service, everyone went off to another aunt and uncle’s house to visit and for a bite to eat. There was a considerable number of people there…aunts, uncles, and cousins. After not seeing most of these folks for years and years, I was shocked that they all knew who I was! And, (probably even more surprising for me) I also knew who everyone was!
My father was one of eight children. My grandparents had come from the “old country” here to the US and lived a modest, yet quite wonderful life. Family was very important, and with eight children, there were lots of grandchildren as well! I do remember many holidays spent at the house….my aunt and uncle that hosted the get-together after my aunt’s funeral live in the old house, although they have remodeled it to the point that it is nothing like it used to be. It is a very cozy house, and it is obvious that the inportance of family still resonates throughout its walls.
I cannot remember when I have been hugged so many times in one day, and with such authenticity. As I think about all of my family that I have more or less “abandoned”, it breaks my heart, and fills my eyes with tears. It is shameful that I have not written to those who are the most important to me…those who share the same roots as I. We do have a heritage together and it is sad that so many years have passed and I have been so preoccupied with my own life.
I feel a sadness that so much water has passed over the dam…but I shall also make an effort to at least keep in touch with some of my cousins. My uncle who is the youngest of the eight children admonished that we in the next generation will be taking over the task of keeping in touch. This really struck a chord…and made me realize just how much my own life has occupied my thoughts and actions. Oh, I was saddened by losses and trials in the family, but I was never really “there” for them.
Of the eight siblings, there are now five remaining. From the eight children, there were twenty-two grandchildren. Of the twenty-two, one is deceased. The remaining twenty-one range in age from 39 to about 60. I think this is amazing for a family to have so many people and that they have done so well!
Family is so great. I am only sorry that I have become so estranged from mine, and hope that I can remedy this! Too much time has passed and as I got just a wee sampling of stories from aunts, uncles, and cousins, I want to hear so much more!