Saturday, October 20, 2012
my mom has not spoken to her siblings in over 10 years. So I lost touch with my aunt and uncle, but thought about them all the time.
some of the history:
My aunt had 5 kids. When my parents divorced, we moved in with them for a year. Mom was working full time and going to school full time and she needed to be somewhere that she didn't have to worry about sis and me. So we moved in to a 2 bedroom, 1 bath single-wide trailer in Albany, GA. That's extreme south GA. An absolute hell hole in the summer!
My 5 cousins, sis and I all slept in one bedroom, my aunt and uncle had the other bedroom, and mom slept on the sofa. Part of that time my uncle (Jerry) was on one of his 2 tours of duty in Viet Nam. Very stressful times for my aunt. But she took care of us as if we were her kids.
Sis and I often refer to this as "the worst year of our lives." Part of that is because we didn't see mom very often with her eyes open. She was busting her butt to make it possible for her to be a single parent. She worked as many hours as she could as a waitress (mom never graduated high school; she had 2 kids by the time she was 21). And mom was going to cosmetology school during the day. She wanted to get her license as soon as possible, so she was taking as many required courses as she could handle.
Our dad still made sure he saw us every other weekend. Sis and I would cry all the way back to Albany (from metro Atlanta) and beg dad not to make us go back. I have apologized to him many times for that! None of it was his fault. It was just a family, doing the best they could under the circumstances.
Mom's brother (Jim) was a fun uncle. He did things like pull us around in the snow (yes, it does snow in GA sometimes!) in an old sink that we found at the dump that bordered our apartment complex property. He'd take us to Braves games. He built us a really cool tree house. He made us an awesome swing out of a rope and a piece of an old mop handle.
My aunt's only son was a police officer. Around Thanksgiving of 1988 he was killed in the line of duty, saving an informant in an undercover drug sting. It was heart breaking to see my 4 cousins without their brother. And hearing my uncle talking to his mom on the phone (she was an invalid and unable to attend the funeral). I heard him say, "I buried my son today Mom" and he started crying. Hearing a man cry is tough. Hearing a Marine cry is even tougher.
My aunt never got over that loss. She and my uncle were forever changed. Parents just aren't expected to face outliving their children. They did continue living. Taking many RV trips with their kids and grandkids. But it was like a piece of them was missing.
wasn't he a doll? RIP, 'little' Jerry. Every year when I run the Fuzz Run, I pin this picture on my shirt and run in memory of my cousin.
Every Thanksgiving I would think about my aunt and uncle. I had a very old address for them, so I took a chance and mailed them a card. My uncle called and told me that my aunt was very sick and had been an nursing home for a while. When she got sick, her brother moved out to help care for her. So I also found mom's bother!!! I didn't get to see my aunt before she died (she passed away Dec of last year), but I vowed to NEVER lose touch with my uncles again.
mom & her sis were never really that close. They always had their differences. I don't even know why mom stopped speaking to her. When I told mom that her sis was sick, she didn't even call her. When I told mom that her sis had died, she just said that she felt bad for her husband and the girls.
I do know why mom quit speaking to her brother. They were always very close. Mom stopped calling him because "I'm always the one who calls. He never calls me first." What a STUPID reason to break ties with your ONLY BROTHER!!!
I love my mom, but that is just D U M B.
so sis and I drove to Lousiana to spend a week with our uncles. It was great! I cannot tell you how awesome it was to hug my uncles. They are both amazing men. One a retired career Marine (Jerry). Mom's brother (Jim) was also a Marine for a few years. Then he worked in the medical instruments field. He set up and repaired hi tech diagnostic equipment. Now he's retired and they fish or camp or do whatever they want to do.
We also got to see 3 of our cousins. One is in Texas now, so we didn't see her. We had dinner with our uncles and all 3 cousins every night. It was wonderful!
If mom finds out we were out there, she will be furious. I would love to share this story with my church, but I cannot because mom would be so mad.
hey, mom...your sis is gone. You really don't need to be mad at her any more. And who cares about who initiates the call? If I want to see or talk to my brothers, I know that it's up to me. They won't call me. They just don't think about it. Most guys probably don't!
if you have anybody in your family that you are holding a grudge with, please consider putting it behind you. It's really the best thing you can do for yourself. My aunt lived her life and did not fume over whatever happened with my mom. My uncle is living a very full life. He misses my mom, but she's made up her mind to be mad.
and it's mom who is bitter and angry over the past. As Buddha said, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned."