This morning, my great aunt died. She was old, and sick, and had lived a very full life, so it was not, in and of itself, a great tragedy.
But you know what is?
The fact that I never got to know her. And, because I didn’t know her all that well, can’t fully share in my mother’s grief. And she? Could use some comfort right now.
My mother loved my great aunt. Very much. But my grandmother (her sister) got angry with her over something. Maybe something trivial, maybe something big, no one remembers anymore.
But that anger turned into a grudge. A grudge so strong that she refused to speak to her. A grudge so enormous that none of us were allowed to speak to her, either.
So my mom was cut off from the people she loved. She wasn’t able to include them in our family events as my brother and I grew up. I remember her only vaguely as a kinder, plumper version of my grandmother. Someone who laughed more frequently, and it seemed, forgave more easily.
And now she’s gone.
My grandmother can’t say she’s sorry, even if she wants to. She can’t get those years back. Can’t regain the love she threw away – the family she tossed aside.
It’s pretty damn stupid.
You only get one family, people. Some of us get good ones, some get shitty ones, but we all only get one.
One set of people that knows our history. Our neuroses. Our joys and half-forgotten pains.
One group that remembers when we still pooped our diapers, and who won’t hold it against us when we’re pooping our diapers again.
My grandmother? She’s 90. That’s pretty awesome.
But with every passing year, she alienates more and more people. Loses more and more friends. Angers more and more family.
Soon, there won’t be anyone left.
What’s the point of living, if you don’t have anyone to love?
I hope I never find out. I wish no one ever did.
You only get one family. Make the most of it.
Proudly linking up with Pour Your Heart Out at Things I Can’t Say today.