Monday, 16 May 2011

In search of tea and sympathy

There are some days you don't want to repeat. Mine started with a telephone call - Eldest, my sister, rang me at 7am to tell me that my dad's second youngest brother died overnight. (Dad was oldest of four.) He was 89 or so and was widowed 2 years ago. He didn't have children. The funeral is on Thursday and I won't be flying home.

I'm left mourning the might-have-beens. We weren't close. I barely knew him and can count on one hand the number of times I met his wife. Thanks to things I don't really understand, my mother took against my aunt and blamed her for all sorts of horrible things. (To excuse my mum, her military service ended with a major head injury and we don't really know what damage was done. Mum blamed Aunty for her head injury amongst other things, even though they didn't meet for another 4 or 5 years.)

The net effect is that we were excluded from all sorts of family functions over the years. It saddens me that we didn't know relatives who lived just a couple of miles away.  You know how many families pass down stories from one generation to the next, say, of great-uncle Tommy who used to liven up parties with a standup routine and was decorated at the Somme but was too modest to say why?  Well, I don't have any of that.  There are stories out there, but I've never heard them.

All I can do now is reach out to my cousins and hope, when they think of me, they think kindly thoughts. I've spoken to my cousin, who's taken on the next-of-kin duties with some moral support from Eldest. I think I'll phone her again soon.  She's a lovely person, who I always go to visit when I go back to Australia.  I'd like to know her better.

- Pam


wrnglrjan said...

Sorry to hear it, Pam.

I know a few people in our extended-but-not-close family have made connections via Facebook, of all things.

However it works out, my condolences.

amy said...

I'm so sorry.