Saturday, April 19, 2014

Family Matters

Today I found myself alone in my car, driving 40 minutes southwest towards Washington, DC.  I was wearing dress pants, white shirt and tie and my best shoes.  I should have been in heaven, but instead my trip took me far short of DC, and I instead ended up in the suburbs of Olney, Maryland.

This was a day of obligation and respect.  I was on the way to family memorial gathering, but for someone wasn't family, but was.

ALL of my brothers are half brothers on my fathers side of the family.  The funeral today was for their Uncle Marty.

Because one brother was in California, and the other in Ohio, I felt it was important that someone from my fathers family be there.

One of the things that I did after Dad died (and left us all a legal mess epic proportions) was to get in touch with the brothers Aunt.  The Aunt, a lovely woman, had been cut out of the boys lives by my father.  Once their mother was gone, that was that.

So I called her to tell her the beast was gone.  So Aunt reclaimed her rightful position in my brothers lives.

Once we moved here, we thought about going to see her, but with Marty is rough shape, we never knew when was a good time.

And that brings us to today.

I know that I didn't inflict pain into her life and rob my brothers of a lifetime of love from their mother's only living sister.  But I do feel that I should repair as much of the damage he caused.

Niecy and her brood showed up - and I accidently turned myself into the ogre of the day when I asked her three year old son to stop touching all of the cookies.  OY!

And Aunt went around introducing me "I had a sister who passed, and she left behind her husband and two sons.  Cookie is from my former brother in laws second marriage....and I can't tell you how shocked and glad that he is here!"

This impressed all of her friends when called me a "mensch".

I met the Aunt's best friend who asked where my wife was.  "Well," he's at home..."  She says "Old habits die hard.  Is he a doctor?  Because if he is, never complain about the hours he keeps."

I left after two hours and then drove home.

Along the way I thought what shame it was that my brothers spent most of their lives without their Aunt.

One of the great sadnesses of life is that funerals these days come to often.  There used to be a time when they were rare events.  But now they come to often and they take the people who have always been there, the people that we think, "oh, I'll call them next week," only they aren't there and its too late.

If there is someone in your life that you you keep putting off, stop and call them or better yet see them.  Life is precious and it is fleeting.  Embrace them now, instead of eulogizing them after they've passed.


  1. Thank you for the truthful reminder.

  2. Thank you, Cookie.

    Several months ago, I started making phone calls more often. I've also been sending notes via snail mail to my oldest relatives.

    Last night I dreamed about one of my long-deceased relatives. I miss her so much and wish we'd had more time together.

    1. Just checked the mail. I received a card from my 96-old-year-old relative who is not supposed to write because of her painful arthritis but she wanted to thank me for all the notes I've been sending to her.

      I agree with you, Cookie. When they're gone, you can't do what you wish you'd done while they were here so put a little time aside whenever you can to contact them.