I’m home. Home from home, that is.

Exhausted. Travel-icky. Sad.

I walked into my dark house, pulled off my black knit dress, black boots still encrusted with graveside mud, black knee-highs, black underthings, black mood.

Not a bad kind of black, mind you, the kind that makes you all too aware of all the things left undone. The ties that are fraying, the clans that are scattering. My mother, now the eldest of the family, is the matriarch with the passing of my great-aunt. We tapped sppons on glasses and announced that we will start having regular reunions on the Fourth of July, just as we always did when my great-uncle and great-aunt were alive. It was never complete without my own grandma and grandpa—the two brothers out-cigaring and out-storying each other, and the cousins all piling into the ancient hammock or swimming in the freezing, unheated swimming pool.

Some of those cousins are my age, and some are newly fledged, newly graduated, newly married, about to become parents. I used to hold these cousins in my lap, or down on the floor and down and torture-tickle them. At the wake, I had trouble recognizing them until they smiled, and then I could see the little boy or little girl I remembered.

Being my usual shy and retiring self, I circulated pen and paper to record everyone’s contact info at the after-burial lunch. I will set up a site and a communications base for the family. Mom can take care of the PR, another friend has offered to organize goodies, and a cousin has been beaten into allowing his place be the venue. He’s the only one with room to erect tents on his property.

Okay. I feel better now. I have something to do. Something to look forward to accomplishing. The family will not scatter, not if we can help it. I want someone holding down my kids for torture tickles too and reminding them later how little they used to be.

8 thoughts on “Home

  1. How well I understand this.  We went through a funeral for my Grandma on the 10th of this month.  She had a brother and a sister who live within 20 miles of each other.  They all go to our church and do you think they would take the time to get together for anything short of a funeral?  To be fair, her brother showed up last July at my Grandma’s 90th birthday party, but her sister did not receive the invitation in the right color envelope of something stupid so did not come.  An annual reunion sounds like a good idea, but maybe we should start with something small, like a brunch.  Good luck to your mom and her fulfilling her new-found matriarchal duties.  My mom is the oldest daughter now and she is in the same spot.

  2. That sounds lovely, I’m jealous.

    It seems our family either isn’t speaking to one another, or “too busy” to keep up.

    And our only reunions are at funerals nowadays. 

    Sorry, I’ll stop, I’d rather not perpetuate the blackness.  Have a good rest, and welcome home!

  3. I come from a large family – seven children – and since my parents have both passed we seldom speak to each other.  One of my sisters and I keep in touch regularly, a second sister I see on holidays, and the other two never.  One brother is dead, and the other brother lives in Arizona.  He had a stroke two weeks ago, and no one even bothered to call me until yesterday.  He comes back from AZ all the time (to NJ where I am) and never calls us.

    Do your best to hold that family together.  It can be an elusive job, but if you can’t do it, no one can.

  4. Blessings to you dear Mindy.
    I hope the family has many reunions in the future and many wonderful celebrations of life.
    I am very sorry for your loss.
    I am glad you are home!
    Love Jeanne

  5. We just buried my grandfather last week.  He was the last of his generation.  It now falls on my mom and I to keep the family together, though, to be honest, it’s been that way for awhile anyway.  One group of brothers (my mom’s cousins – there are three of them) jokes that they never get together except for get togethers at my parents’ house.  That’s kind of sad!
    That was great that you took it upon yourself to gather contact info.  I hope you keep it up!

  6. I wish you were in my family.  Your family is very fortunate to have you.

    I have tried twice now to pull my family together.  For each of my daughters high school graduations, we had a party inviting most of our family.  It was so disappointing that so many didn’t attend.  My own brother wouldn’t come because I invited his ex wife.  She came.  Why are people so petty?  My father and my sister haven’t spoken to each other in 4 years and they live 15 minutes apart in Florida.  Oh well.

  7. Oh, Mindy. My condolences on the loss of your aunt. I’m not in touch with my side of the family anymore – and it’s inconceivable to go back once you’ve let decades pass. Your family will be so much happier for the effort you and your cousins are putting into keeping in touch. Good luck.

  8. So sorry to hear about your aunt, Mindy!  Hope your doing well.  My family has a reunion every 3 years.  We found that the disance was too much to commit to every 1-2 years and this works well.  We meet at a different resort each time (sounds way better than it is) so no one is too put out other than traveling (some come from Germany and Italy!).  It was started by my Dad’s cousins.  Their parents were one of 13 children, so there are a slew of cousins.  We all have so much fun, but for them it is really important to see us all together and learning the history and keeping the family going!  And, it is really fun to watch the family grow as new little ones appear each time!

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