Family decay

Every so often I think of my Grandmother, my mother’s mother, the only grandmother I ever knew.

She was a piece of work, a very interesting woman, a person who left her home and family at the age of nineteen and came to this country to be with her sister, never to return to her homeland despite a marriage that was supposed to take her there. World War I intervened and kept that last event from happening.

She was somewhat of a man hater, making me often wonder why she chose me to be her special grandchild. I am convinced that somehow I was her favorite. She even spent her last moments on earth with me in a freakish, surprise life departure that was totally unexpected and only a week from our wedding in 1975.

My grandmother was the family glue.

Without her, the family soon fell apart and little by little the bricks of what seemed to be a very firm, family foundation, came tumbling down.

It is sad when a person wields that much power. It is sad when you see the aftermath and ramifications of that person’s departure. Things that you expected to continue do not. Events that seem to be logically disseminated about relations and happenings just don’t get shared in the usual way.

Information that one used to take for granted and expect as a normal family outcome does not occur. Information about events with cousins and about changes in their lives and situations gets lost in the shuffle. Their triumphs and losses don’t manage to reach you and periodically, in this age of almost instant communication, now might reach you through different cyber-vehicles. Recently, I learned of the passing of a family member that went unnoticed since we are not in ‘immediate’ connection but would normally hear of from someone closer to him. We felt bad that we could not offer the proper condolences in time because of that.

In the past, visits from family members to the immediate area would be at least accompanied by a phone call or at least a possible quick visit. Now it happens and we know nothing of it. The extended family has reached a point of decay, due to the loss of pivotal family members.

Who loses most? We all do.

About Richard Koerner

Sixty something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
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One Response to Family decay

  1. GregPeters says:

    Family reunions are a lost art, my kids never had to suffer through them. But the drama, when the emotional aunt fainted, the younger cousins disappeared as a gang, two uncles fighting about politics, and the lord of the event, my grandmother, commenting that the chicken isn’t done enough, or the potato salad had too much salt, to the dismay of the out laws who did the work. It was better than a play on Broadway!

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